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VERIFY: Fact-checking common claims about the monkeypox virus

Dr. Amesh Adalja, the senior scholar at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, is answering your questions about monkeypox.

The Verify team is making sure you have the facts about monkeypox. 

We took some claims being made about the virus to Dr. Amesh Adalja, senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

CLAIM

You can get monkeypox from kissing.

True. Adalja said, “Monkeypox can be transmitted through close mouth to mouth contact, it's likely present in saliva and in respiratory secretions.”

CLAIM

If you're sitting next to someone at a bar or public place and you bump elbows, can you get monkeypox that way?

False. Adalja said, “Monkeypox isn't going to be something that's transmitted through casual contact, especially if you're wearing clothes. There has been skin-to-skin transmission at dance clubs where people are dancing shirtless, but in ordinary circumstances at a bar sitting at a bar stool, that's not a risk for transmission of monkeypox.”

CLAIM

You can get monkeypox from someone preparing your food.

False. Adalja said, “There's no evidence that monkeypox can be transmitted via food.

CLAIM

You can get monkeypox from sharing a drink with someone who has it.

True, but needs context. Adalja said, “Monkeypox could be transmitted if saliva from one person went into another person's mouth. However, this isn't a real risk. This is not what's driving transmission.“

CLAIM

You can get monkeypox while in a swimming pool, hot tub or body of water.

False. Adalja said, “Monkeypox transmits from skin-to-skin contact and that could occur in any type of situation. So being in a swimming pool without skin-to-skin contact with somebody or in a hot tub without skin-to-skin contact with somebody is not likely to have any monkeypox risk associated with it.”

CLAIM

You can get monkeypox from contaminated equipment at a gym.

It depends. Adalja said, “Monkeypox is something that can be transmitted through contaminated towels, contaminated bedding. It can survive for a certain period of time or remain viable on equipment, it's likely not the main way that people are getting infected. And it can be easily dealt with by wiping down gym equipment with standard disinfectants.”

CLAIM

Running your clothes and sheets through the washing machine will kill the monkeypox virus.

True. Adalja said, “Monkeypox is not going to remain a viable virus when exposed to just ordinary soaps and detergents.”

RELATED: VERIFY: Yes, monkeypox can spread by trying on clothing or changing bed sheets

CLAIM

Kids can get monkeypox.

True. Adalja said, “Historically, children have been the most frequently infected with monkeypox, especially in endemic countries. And we have seen pediatric cases in the United States.”

CLAIM

Heterosexual people should not be concerned with the monkeypox virus.

False. Adalja said, “While it's true that cases are concentrated in a specific socio-demographic group, anybody can get infected, especially if they have close contact with somebody that has monkeypox.”

RELATED: 'This is not limited to any one population or gender' | Health officials continue to clear up monkeypox confusion

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