Monkeypox Conspiracy Theories, Blaming US For Spread, Swirl In China

Monkeypox has symptoms similar to smallpox but is far less severe, with most people recovering within weeks.

Monkeypox Conspiracy Theories, Blaming US For Spread, Swirl In China

Over 100 suspected and confirmed cases have been reported in Europe, US outbreak. (Reuters Photo)

Chinese social media users are saying that the United States could be the source of the rise in monkeypox cases, which have so far been reported in at least a dozen countries. The viral infection has been one of the top trends on popular Chinese social media platform Weibo for the past three days, Fortune reported.

The news about US reporting suspected cases of monkeypox was one of the most viewed on Weibo, receiving 51 million views, the publication further reported.

Five cases of the infection have now either confirmed or probable and the number likely to rise, news agency AFP said on Monday.

Also Read | Monkeypox Can Be Stopped Outside Endemic Countries, Says WHO

There is one confirmed US infection so far, in Massachusetts, and four other cases of people with orthopoxviruses - the family that monkeypox belongs to, senior officials with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention said at a press briefing.

The Fortune report said that the Chinese state media has so far not blamed the US of intentionally spreading monkeypox, but social media users haven't held back.

Many Chinese social media influencers, like Shu Chang, who has 6.41 million Weibo followers, have used a 2021 report on biosecurity preparedness planning by a US non-government organization, Nuclear Threat Initiative, to spread the fear.

The report included a scenario of a monkeypox pandemic, but it has been taken out of context to suggest that the US government knew the outbreak was coming, the outlet reported.

Also Read | Avoiding Monkeypox, Covid: Why Have We Stumbled Spectacularly?

Shu's post was liked by more than 7,500 users and received more than 660 comments. A user said while replying to her that the US is “evil beyond the imagination of humankind”, according to Fortune.

Both US and China have been engaged in a spat over the origin of coronavirus. While China made unsubstantiated claims that the US engineered the virus at a military base, US media outlets alleged that the virus may have leaked from a research facility in Wuhan, where Covid was first detected.

Monkeypox has symptoms similar to smallpox but is far less severe, with most people recovering within weeks.

Transmission of monkeypox occurs through close, sustained skin-to-skin contact with someone who has an active rash, or through respiratory droplets in someone who has lesions in their mouth and is around another person for an extended period of time.

The virus causes a rash, with skin lesions focused on certain areas of the body, or spread more widely. In some cases, during early stages, a rash can start on the genital or perianal areas.

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