Monkeypox continues to spread in many countries with 31,800 cases reported worldwide on Wednesday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Not so long ago, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced a major alert regarding monkeypox, raising questions and concerns about its rate of transmissibility and the course of the virus.
The spread has prompted many to rush for the vaccine, and others, like universities, have been told to prepare for possible outbreaks as they prepare for the academic year which begins this month- this. Now concerns are growing over whether monkeypox could impact thrift stores as more people fear transmission.
Monkeypox is spread by touching contaminated surfaces or coming into direct contact with an infected person’s rash or body fluids. It could also be spread through contact with infected animals and prolonged face-to-face contact. Infected people experience symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion, respiratory symptoms like a sore throat or cough, and a rash that may look like pimples or blisters, according to the CDC.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also noted that the current global epidemic is “concentrated among men who have sex with men, especially those who have multiple partners.”
Can Monkeypox spread in thrift stores?
Some concerns have been raised on TikTok about the potential impact of monkeypox on thrift stores in a way that would “kill saving as a hobby”. These fears stem from the fact that a person can become infected by touching contaminated objects, including fabrics.
However, Dr. Amesh Adalja, senior researcher at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, said Newsweek Thursday that he does not think it is a “major risk”.
“Most people who are contagious with monkeypox and have a painful rash won’t want to try on clothes, and I think transient contact with clothes – like what happens when people try on clothes – is not a major risk,” Adalja said. said, adding that he doesn’t think thrift stores need to take special precautions.
Additionally, Dr. Peter Chin-Hong, a professor of medicine specializing in infectious diseases at the University of California, San Francisco, told SELF that the spread of monkeypox due to the purchase of used or new clothing is “very unlikely”.
“It’s very difficult to get infected with monkeypox through clothing, except in a family setting with lots and lots of contact,” Chin-Hong said, referring to someone who lives with an infected person.
However, Chin-Hong explained that a person is at risk of contracting monkeypox if they rub their skin against contaminated cloth until they get microscopic cuts on the skin through which the virus could enter the body. body.
Dr. Jay Varma, professor of population health sciences at Weill Cornell Medical College, said Newsweek that it is “theoretically possible” for a person to contract monkeypox after wearing the same clothes worn by another person infected with the virus.
“But just because an activity is theoretically possible doesn’t mean it’s probable,” Varma said. “For this to happen the person would have to have monkeypox skin lesions, those lesions would have to rub off onto the clothes, the person would then have to donate the clothes unwashed, get the store to sell them unwashed, and then having enough surviving virus on clothing to infect another person.This sequence of events is incredibly unlikely.
Varma also said shoppers don’t have to avoid thrift stores and added that CDC-recommended standard laundering practices are enough to protect against monkeypox.
Growing concern over monkeypox
Others expressed general concerns that gone viral on social media, saying the virus is spread by touching someone else’s clothes.
Although there is less risk of infection through clothing, some experts say a Eurosurveillance study, which assessed the hospital rooms of two patients with monkeypox, found that the fabrics “widely used by the patients contained viral contamination. Additionally, the CDC said on its website that the virus can be spread by “touching objects (such as clothing or linens) that have already touched the infectious rash or bodily fluids.”
Dr Andrew Lee, professor of public health at the University of Sheffield in the UK, said Newsweek last month that the virus can be spread “by contact with contaminated clothing, laundry used by an infected person”.
“Although I think direct contact with infected skin lesions probably poses a higher risk,” Lee said.
Newsweek contacted the Salvation Army thrift store for comment.