MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Will trying on clothes at a store put you at risk for contracting monkeypox?
While it is possible to be infected by touching the clothing of someone who has the virus, it is unlikely, according to health officials.
The virus is spread through contact with a person who has monkeypox, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which can include skin-to-skin contact, sex and sharing utensils with someone who is infected. It can also be spread through touching the bedding, towels or clothing of someone with monkeypox. Health care professions do not currently know if monkeypox can be spread through semen and vaginal fluids.
However, most people who have been diagnosed with the virus have been in direct, close or intimate contact with a person who has been infected, the South Carolina Department of Environmental Control told News13.
“Spread through contaminated objects is not a driving factor in the increase of cases being seen nationwide,” the agency said in a written response. “At this time, the risk of MPX infection to the general public is low. Spread of the virus through trying on clothes is theoretically possible but this has not been reported and is exceedingly unlikely.”
Neither DHEC or the CDC has a current recommendation about if people should avoid trying on clothes in order to avoid spreading the disease.
The outbreak of the rare virus has taken the U.S., which has typically not seen cases, by surprise. There have been 13,100 confirmed cases of monkeypox worldwide in countries that historically have not seen the illness, according to the CDC. Most of those have been Spain, with 2,835 cases, and in the U.S., with 1,971 cases.
Most cases have been from people who have been in close contact with someone who has the virus, according to the CDC, which has posted resources about how to lower the risk of getting monkeypox through sex. The agency has also urged people to consider how much they might be touching other people’s skin at crowded events.
Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion and a rash that looks like acne or blisters.
Symptoms last from two to four weeks. People who are asymptomatic cannot spread the virus to another person.
If infected, the CDC recommends isolating at home, away from people or pets. People who have been exposed to the virus are also urged to seek a vaccine.
There have been at least four cases of monkeypox in South Carolina, according to information from DHEC. The virus was first detected in South Carolina on July 8, and cases have been found in people who live in the Lowcountry and Midlands.