Monkeypox outbreak May 2022

Monkeypox. Is this a pandemic ?

It’s all about definitions. This outbreak is now officially a pandemic – since at least two cases have been confirmed by the Australian Government.
The concept / or definition of a pandemic is based by the World Health Organization on the fact in how many continents the disease has broken out. And NOT – as many people think – based on the number of patients in such an outbreak.


Monkeypox, belonging to the poxviridae family, is a viral infection that occurs mainly in West and Central Africa. Sometimes a traveller from that region comes to Europe with this disease. This zoonosis (disease that can pass from animals to humans) occurs mainly in rodents in Africa. The disease is usually mild in humans, with a very low death rate. The natural reservoir of monkeypox remains unknown. However, African rodents and non-human primates (like monkeys) may harbour the virus and infect people.

Transmission : Most people get the disease after contact with an infected human or animal that carries the virus. The virus can enter through your mucous membranes (e.g., mouth, nose or eyes), open wounds (not necessarily visible wounds). From CDC website : Respiratory droplets generally cannot travel more than a few feet, so prolonged face-to-face contact is required. Other human-to-human methods of transmission include direct contact with body fluids or lesion material, and indirect contact with lesion material, such as through contaminated clothing or linens. The incubation period of Monkeypox is usually from six to 13 days but can range from five to 21 days

How does this translate to the laundry ?


From the WHO website: Human-to-human transmission can result from close contact with respiratory secretions, skin lesions of an infected person or recently contaminated objects. Transmission via droplet respiratory particles usually requires prolonged face-to-face contact, which puts health workers, household members and other close contacts of active cases at greater risk. However, the longest documented chain of transmission in a community has risen in recent years from six to nine successive person-to-person infections. This may reflect declining immunity in all communities due to cessation of smallpox vaccination.

  1. Wearing gloves when working in the sorting department or when loading the washing machines – is essential in preventing infection with the virus. This vital recommendation is part of the EN 14065 RABC as well as CERCLEAN Quality Management System. Next to wearing face masks and protective work wear.
  2. Wearing gloves is crucial because transmission can take place when small lesions are present on the skin. Even when wounds are invisible with naked eye ! See also CDC website – monkeypox transmission. Monkey pox virus is a so-called enveloped virus . And from the COVID19 pandemic we know that most enveloped viruses can be destroyed by thermal disinfection or chemo-thermal disinfection. On top of that these viruses are sensitive to high pH and surface-active agents. Both parameters being present in the pre wash of all healthcare wash processes. So, the de-activation already starts in the first minute of your wash process. In short: the chance that this monkeypox virus survives the wash process is zilch.
  3. Existing healthcare wash processes don’t need to be adapted provided these processes are in line with RABC and /or CERCLEAN guidelines.

If questions remain than please feel free contacting the CINET team.

Presence of Monkeypox cases – situation 25 May 2022.
Presence of Monkeypox cases – situation 25 May 2022.