Are there monkeypox myths? A doctor breaks down disease fact and fiction | Health & Fitness


MIAMI — As monkeypox stays on our minds, people turn to the internet for answers to their questions. The internet has no shortage of information, but it also has no shortage of misinformation.

Much of the confusion is due to the mystery surrounding the monkeypox outbreak this year, said Dr. John Esin, medical director for the department of emergency medicine at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. In the past month, Esin has seen at least 20 confirmed cases of monkeypox.

You may be wondering: How can I sift through monkeypox fact and fiction? Let us help.

Is monkeypox a sexually transmitted disease?

Monkeypox has been around for six decades but never has been considered an STD, Dr. Esin said. STDs mainly spread through intercourse, but they still come with exceptions. HIV can spread through sharing needles. Syphilis can spread through kissing. Trichomoniasis can spread through sharing towels.

“You can kind of understand why most people would think that way,” he said. “Based on the medical knowledge we currently do have, I strongly believe that monkeypox … is not a sexually transmitted infection.”


Studies done in Europe have found the virus in semen and saliva, Esin said. But no study has identified semen as the cause of the outbreak.

How does monkeypox spread?

The spread of monkeypox has an element of mystery. The virus can spread through body fluids, skin-to-skin contact, lesions and contaminated surfaces and objects, Esin said.

For example, someone with monkeypox who sneezes and touches a doorknob or table can infect people who later touch those surfaces, he said. So far, the virus hasn’t proven to be airborne.


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