The alleged contagion of monkeypox by an electric scooter

Last Saturday, July 30, a Twitter user wrote a thread about how he was allegedly infected with monkeypox: via an electric scooter he bought on the Wallapop advertising platform. The hellofor which you asked us in our WhatsApp verification servicereached over 25,000 retweets and already has 63,000 likes in just three days.

This user’s testimony generated both support and doubts about the possibility of such a contagion. According to specialists consulted by Newtral.es, the spread of monkeypox without close contact is “highly unlikely”although this cannot be completely ruled out.

On the other hand, the story of the author of the thread was previously a parody story about politics Susana Diazas evidenced by replies to old tweets, and the profile picture he currently uses is of British cyclist Adam Yates.

Catching monkeypox from a scooter: possible but highly unlikely

The author of the thread, with the username Mei Rito, says that a week after he met the Wallapop seller and bought the scooter, he started having a fever and muscle aches. The Twitter user suspected it might be COVID-19, but tested negative for three PCR tests, according to an account on the social media.

A few days later, he notices a problem with his scooter recently bought by Wallapop and upon contacting the seller, he confesses that he has been diagnosed with monkeypox. “The same day, I go to the emergency room and they do tests. Positive for monkey pox. The most probable contagion, from what he tells me, since my sex life has not changed, is that the virus ended up in my mucous membranes after having impregnated me with it on the handles of the scooter”, is recounted in the series of tweets.

According to Rafael Blasco, virologist at the National Institute of Agricultural and Food Research and Technology (INIA-CSIC), it may be possible, but it would be a “very unlikely” route of transmission.

“What we know now is that approximately 82% of cases in which information is obtained is through close contact in the context of a sexual relationship,” he explains to Newtral.es. “10% were due to close contact without sex, which leaves us with a minority of cases where there was no close contact,” he adds.

For this reason, Blasco says “we can’t rule it out”, although while there have been many infections due to non-close contact, “the case pattern we would see would be clearly different from what was observed”.

This is also the opinion of Víctor Jiménez, professor of microbiology at the Complutense University of Madrid (UCM). “The story is highly improbable, but not impossible,” he told Newtral.es.

Jiménez reiterates that monkeypox is usually transmitted by direct and intimate contact, “but there may be situations in which there is a relatively high viral load and it could be spread by fomites, that is, contaminated inanimate objects”, as in the case of an electric scooter as the viral thread reports. “If it had been like that, it would be something very exceptional,” adds the microbiologist.

For his part, Jacob Lorenzo-Morales, full professor in the field of parasitology and director of the University Institute of Tropical Diseases and Public Health of the Canary Islands of the University of La Laguna, believes that it may be a “disinformation hoax”. “It may be a case of misinformation because the main route of contagion of monkeypox is direct, close and prolonged contact with skin lesions, ”he points out to Newtral.es.

What do we know about the author’s account of the viral thread

The Twitter account that spread the story that went viral of the monkeypox contagion via a scooter bought from Wallapop is called @mei_rito. Beyond his own story, the author does not provide additional data or evidence to support his story.

By doing a reverse search of your profile picture with Google Lens, you can verify that it is a image of British cyclist Adam Yates published in 2021. And, although the account has been around since 2013, he deleted all his tweets from this year until 2021.

Through a Twitter search of their responses, we discover that Ifirst the account that viralized the story of the monkeypox contagion through the scooter it was called @SusanaPresident. This lasted at least until July 2021as it appears on the Web Archive digital archive platform.

According to the biography that accompanied her former name, it was a parody account of the politics of Susana Díaz. “La Felipona, professional politics. I got my law degree when I was 17. I stabbed Pedro Sánchez. Now a golden retirement in the Senate,” his biography said in 2021. The account was inactive from 2016 to 2019.

Sources

Statements on Newtral.es by Rafael Blasco, INIA-CSIC virologist

Statements to Newtral.es by Víctor Jiménez, Professor of Microbiology UCM

Statements to Newtral.es by Jacob Lorenzo-Morales, professor of the field of parasitology and director of the University Institute of Tropical Diseases and Public Health of the Canary Islands of the University of La Laguna

Tweet from July 2021 on Web Archive

Image of cyclist Adam Yates

What do we know about the alleged contagion of monkeypox via a scooter bought from Wallapop

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