Can you get monkeypox from trying on clothes at the store?

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) — Will trying on clothes in a store put you at risk of contracting monkeypox?

While it’s possible to get infected by touching the clothes of someone infected with the virus, it’s unlikely, according to health officials.

The virus is spreading through contact with someone 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 an infected person. It can also be spread by touching the bedding, towels, or clothing of someone with monkeypox. Health professionals do not currently know if monkeypox can be spread through semen and vaginal secretions.

However, most people who have been diagnosed with the virus have had direct, close or intimate contact with an infected person, the South Carolina Department of Environmental Control told News13.

“Spread through contaminated objects is not a driving factor in the increase in observed cases nationwide,” the agency said in a written response. “At this time, the risk of MPX infection to the general public is low. Spreading the virus by trying on clothes is theoretically possible, but has not been reported and is extremely unlikely.

Neither the DHEC nor the CDC has a current recommendation on whether people should avoid trying on clothes in order to avoid spreading the disease.

The outbreak of the rare virus took the United States, which has typically seen no cases, by surprise. There have been 13,100 confirmed cases of monkeypox worldwide in countries that have never seen the disease, according to the CDC. Most of these have been Spain, with 2,835 cases, and the United States, with 1,971 cases.

Most cases come from people who have been in close contact with someone infected with the virus, according to the CDC, which has posted resources on how to reduce the risk of contracting monkeypox through sex. The agency also urged people to consider how much they might touch 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 two to four weeks. Asymptomatic people cannot transmit the virus to another person.

If infected, the CDC recommends self-isolating at home, away from people or pets. People who have been exposed to the virus are also urged to get vaccinated.

There have been at least four cases of monkeypox in South Carolina, according to information from the DHEC. The virus was first detected in South Carolina on July 8, and cases have been found in people living in the Lowcountry and Midlands.