Infection Control: Home

Patients who do not require hospitalization for medical indications may be isolated at home using protective measures.

The ability to implement isolation and infection control measures in a home setting is likely to vary depending on the following factors:

  • If patient is a child or adult
  • The presence of additional infected or uninfected persons or pets in the home
  • The nature and extent of lesions in each case

The following principles should be considered and adopted to the extent possible in the home setting.

Isolation of Patient

  • Persons with extensive lesions that cannot be easily covered (excluding facial lesions), draining/weeping lesions, or respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, sore throat, runny nose) should be isolated in a room or area separate from other family members when possible.
  • Persons with monkeypox should not leave the home except as required for follow-up medical care. They also should avoid contact with wild or domestic mammals if possible.
  • Unexposed persons who do not have an essential need to be in the home should not visit.
  • Household members who are not ill should limit contact with the person with monkeypox.
  • Pets should be excluded from the ill person’s environment.

Use of Personal Protective Equipment

  • Persons with monkeypox should wear a surgical mask, especially those who have respiratory symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath, sore throat). If this is not feasible (e.g., a child with monkeypox), other household members should consider wearing a surgical mask when in the presence of the person with monkeypox.
  • Disposable gloves should be worn for direct contact with lesions and disposed of after use.
  • Skin lesions should be covered to the best extent possible (e.g., long sleeves, long pants) to minimize risk of contact with others.
    • Contain and dispose of contaminated waste (such as dressings and bandages) after consultation with state or local health officials. Do not dispose of waste in landfills or dumps.

Proper Hand Hygiene and Cleaning Procedures

  • Hand hygiene (i.e., hand washing with soap and water or use of an alcohol-based hand rub) should be performed by infected persons and household contacts after touching lesion material, clothing, linens, or environmental surfaces that may have had contact with lesion material.
  • Laundry (e.g., bedding, towels, clothing) may be washed in a standard washing machine with warm water and detergent; bleach may be added but is not necessary.
    • Care should be used when handling soiled laundry to avoid direct contact with contaminated material.
    • Soiled laundry should not be shaken or otherwise handled in a manner that may disperse infectious particles.
  • Dishes and other eating utensils should not be shared. It is not necessary for the infected person to use separate utensils if properly washed. Soiled dishes and eating utensils should be washed in a dishwasher or by hand with warm water and soap.
  • Contaminated surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected. Standard household cleaning/disinfectants may be used in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.