Experts point out what’s behind the notorious scooter and monkeypox story

If you are a more or less regular user of social networks, it is almost certain that in the last few hours you have come across a Twitter thread in which a user named @mei_rito sounded the alarm bell saying he had been infected with monkeypox when buying a used scooter from Wallapop.

According to his testimony, a week after this transaction, he began to feel unwell, with fever and muscle aches, and soon after discovered that the seller was infected with monkey pox.

“Could it be that I was infected during a 15-minute contact during which we only greeted each other by shaking hands? Contact with a doctor friend who tells me about contagious wounds on the face and hands. The boy confirms that he had small injuries even before being diagnosed,” the user said, adding, “The most likely contagion, from what they tell me, given that my sex life hasn’t changed, it’s because the virus ended up on my mucous membranes after soaking it in the handles of the scooter”.

The posts have created great alarm on Twitter as they have over 25,000 retweets and 63,000 likes in just two days.

But some details of this story have made experts suspicious. First thing: the proper name of the Twitter user (mei_rito), which does not correspond to a real identity, any more than his profile photo, on which appears the cyclist Adam Yates. Additionally, soon after, multiple profiles emerged that replicated the same or very similar posts.

The famous immunologist Alfredo Corell replied to the user on Twitter, stating, “I asked you to DM me because this has gotten out of hand. You are scaring a lot of people unnecessarily.”

in conversation with The HuffPost, The expert regrets the alarm that this Twitter thread has created and explains that the user “plays with something improbable but it is not totally impossible”.

Corell stresses that this type of contagion is “highly unlikely” and specifies that, if it does occur, it generally occurs between cohabitants when sharing a drink, a drink for example.

The immunologist points out that for what the user is saying to actually happen, many factors would have to occur at the same time: “The person selling the scooter would have to have had injuries to their hands, that there left the liquid, which the buyer had injuries and touched it immediately. Something very unlikely. It’s highly unlikely, but I can’t say impossible.”

And he points out that it is just as unlikely to catch monkeypox by, for example, standing on a pole in public transport such as the metro or the bus.

Along the same lines, it was expressed on Twitter Nerea Irigoyen, virologist at the University of Cambridgewho underlined: “I think we lose sight of the essential because of situations which, if they are real, may be mere anecdotes…”.

Whereas, Rafa Toledo, professor of immunoparasitologypublished a graph on Twitter in which situations with high risk of contagion and others with very low are indicated.

Among the former are direct contact with wounds, scabs or bodily fluids of an infected person or sexual or intimate contact.

Meanwhile, contagion through water in a swimming pool, on public transport or in a gym by machines is indicated as very unlikely.

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