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Does anyone know if it's possible to pass on chicken pox through clothing or objects?

(3 Posts)
spotiness Sun 31-Mar-19 06:35:53

I was just wondering if it is possible to pass on chicken pox through your clothing or through objects that an infected person has touched?

DS as chicken pox at the moment, it had been going round nursery for a few weeks and lots of the kids have it. Everyone else in our house has already had it, so it's unlikely that any of us would get it again.

Someone raised the question the other day of whether it's possible to pass on the virus through clothing. The NHS and other sites say that it can be passed on through the air and close contact with an infected person, but is it theoretically possible that it could be passed on by someone who lives with or has touched an infected person?

If an infected persons clothes can be infectious and I've been holding an infected person, could my clothes then pass on the infection to someone else? As chicken pox is dangerous to pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems should I also keep away from people? My other DS has already had chicken pox and he's still going to school so could he infect others by being in close contact?

I've never heard of anyone keeping the whole household in quarantine because one person has chicken pox but now I'm wondering just how infectious it can be.

Does anyone know?

OP’s posts: |
MedSchoolRat Sun 31-Mar-19 06:52:26

What you're wondering about is called transmission via 'fomites' (= inanimate objects). Like if residue got on your clothes and someone touched your contaminated clothes, could that person get CP.

"Fortunately, the virus is rather labile, so it is not spread on clothing or other fomites" is the understanding on varicella (CPox). Labile = easily broken down, doesn't last at all outside a live host. I imagine that's because CPox never needed to adapt to be transmitted via fomites. So you can't be an unwitting carrier.

This is in contrast to... good ol' norovirus. Lots evidence that noro lives on surfaces for possibly days after contact, so can be caught from fomites easily, & you only need a tiny dose to get ill with it. <shudder> Norovirus is adapted for very different environments & ways of spreading. Noro immunity may last for up to 7 yrs is recent thinking, some consolation.

spotiness Sun 31-Mar-19 07:10:06

Thanks MedSchoolRat, that's a relief.

So normal hygiene practices and keeping infected DS away from people should be sufficient to minimise the risk of infecting anyone else.

OP’s posts: |

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