Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday pushed back against the idea that the monkeypox virus can spread through the air, saying the virus is usually transmitted through direct physical contact with sores or contaminated materials from a patient.
The virus may also be transmitted by respiratory droplets expelled by an infected patient who comes into physical contact with another person, they said. But it cannot linger in the air over long distances.
Experts on airborne transmission of viruses did not disagree, but some said the agency had not fully considered the possibility that respiratory droplets, large or small, could be inhaled at a shorter distance from a patient.
The World Health Organization and several experts have said that while “short-range” airborne transmission of monkeypox appears to be uncommon, it is possible and warrants precautions. Britain also includes monkeypox on its list of “high-consequence infectious diseases” that can spread through the air.