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Monkeypox was used to hide an outbreak of adverse reactions from Covid vaccines, many social media posts claim. In particular, they claim that the rashes usually associated with monkeypox are actually due to shingles and herpes. However, this theory is unfounded: cases of monkeypox cannot be confused with other diseases because they require, in order to be confirmed, a biological test allowing the precise identification of this virus or its family of viruses, which is different from that of shingles and herpes, explained the General Directorate of Health to AFP. The recent increase in cases of monkeypox in non-endemic areas cannot be attributed to the anti-Covid vaccination either, because it is unable to “trigger” the disease, point out specialists.
“Monkey pox is just an excuse! This is the Covid vaccine disaster, it was 100% caused by the Covid vaccines. The rashes are the consequences of the Covid vaccines!”says a user in a tweet published on May 25 and shared more than 1,200 times since (1, 2).
“The shingles caused by the Covid-19 vaccine looks suspiciously like monkeypox”, title for its part of a blog article from the Geopolintel site.
“Monkey pox serves to cover up immune system damage caused by COVID vaccination, which results in shingles, autoimmune disease and herpes infection”still claims a blog article published on June 1 on the Resistance site.
Since the detection of cases of monkeypox in Europe in early May, similar messages have been pouring in, pointing to the fact that shingles is among the “potential signals or events already under surveillance” from the National Medicines Safety Agency (ANSM) for anti-Covid vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and Janssen.
For them, the cases of monkeypox detected in Europe could therefore be confused with cases of shingles caused by anti-Covid vaccination.
This theory has been taken up in Spanish, English and Portuguese.
What is monkey pox?
Monkey pox (“monkeypox” in English) or “simian orthopox virus” is a disease considered rare, known in humans since 1970.
The virus was first discovered in 1958 in a group of macaques that were studied for research purposes, hence its name, explains Inserm. More than 60 years before the development of the first vaccines against Covid-19.
“Unlike SARS-CoV-2 at the time of its appearance, it is therefore a virus that we have already known well for several decades”, says the National Institute of Medical Research.
Incubation can usually range from 5 to 21 days and symptoms resemble, but less severe, those seen in the past in people with smallpox (“smallpox” in English): fever, headache, muscle pain, back pain, during the first five days. Then appear skin rashes.
Monkeypox usually heals on its own and symptoms last two to three weeks. Severe cases occur more frequently in children and are related to the extent of exposure to the virus, the patient’s medical condition and the severity of complications.
Infection in initial cases results from direct contact with blood, body fluids, or skin or mucous membrane lesions of infected animals. In the current state of knowledge, secondary, i.e. human-to-human, transmission can result from close contact with infected secretions from the respiratory tract, skin lesions of an infected subject or objects recently contaminated with body fluids or material from a patient’s lesions.
Since 1970, human cases of monkeypox have been reported in about ten African countries, then in the spring of 2003, confirmed in the United States.
In May 2022, several cases were this time detected in countries where monkeypox had not previously been detected. “Europe remains the epicenter of this growing wave, with 25 countries reporting more than 1,500 cases, or 85% of the global total.“, said at a press conference given on June 15 Hans Kluge, the director of WHO Europe.
As social media posts suggest, symptoms associated with monkeypox, including fever but also rashes, can resemble those of other infectious diseases like chickenpox, measles or classical smallpox (officially eradicated). in 1980).
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For this reason, “the national mission of Epidemic and Biological Risk Operational Coordination has posted on its website a help sheet for dermatological diagnosis and symptomatic treatment [qui] offers help to doctors to differentiate monkeypox from other diseases with similar symptoms such as chickenpox, syphilis and infection with the herpes virus in particular”, explained the Directorate General of Health to AFP on June 15.
However, the cases confirmed today in France are necessarily people with monkeypox since it is “also asked to confirm biologically all suspected cases of Monkeypox, by performing a PCR test to detect, according to the [technique] PCR used, an orthopoxvirus or directly the Monkeypox virus”, pointed the DGS.
While some symptoms may be similar, monkeypox and shingles or herpes are indeed not caused by the same virus, explained in a previous AFP article published on May 26 Isaac Bogoch, professor at Temerty School of Medicine at the University of Toronto.
Shingles and monkeypox, two diseases characterized by skin lesions, are “different, have a different transmission and are produced by different viruses”abounded on June 2 Vivian Luchsinger , virologist from the University of Chile.
In other words, the diagnosis made possible by a PCR test on the lesions (fluid, vesicles, etc.) leaves no room for error since monkeypox is caused by an orthopoxvirus of the poxviridae family (the same as that smallpox).
Shingles is caused by the varicella-zoster virus and herpes by the herpes virus, both from the herpesvirus family.
As these viruses belong to different families, they are impossible to confuse from a morphological point of view, detailed on June 9 Giliane Trindade, researcher at the Department of Microbiology at the Institute of the Federal University of Minas Gerais, in Brazil. :““There is no chance that in the laboratory they will be confused (…) If you were to visualize them under a high resolution microscope, they have virus particles, they have absolutely different shapes. It is impossible to confuse them. And, from a genetic point of view, they are also very different. It’s like comparing a cat with a dog.”
“Once diagnosed, monkeypox is a reportable disease, which allows the evolution of the number of cases to be tracked,” specifies the website of the Health Insurance.
No link with anti-Covid vaccination
While it is clear that the confirmed cases of monkeypox are indeed due to this disease, some Internet users however argue that it would be the anti-Covid vaccination which would be the cause.
But this thesis goes against the current scientific consensus. “There is no reason to say that the monkeypox epidemic is linked to vaccines “, explained to AFP David Heymann, professor of epidemiology of infectious diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM).
In the PubMed database of the United States National Library of Medicine, there is no publication supporting this study.
The infectiologist Román Zucchi, from the Sanatorio Sagrado Corazón hospital in the city of Buenos Aires, explained to AFP on June 8 that there is no “no biological argument in favor” of the thesis that monkey pox is a consequence of anti-Covid vaccination. “It’s neither likely nor possible,” he pointed out.
The specialist explained that the vaccines used against Covid-19 do not have the capacity to “generate” viruses, let alone a type of virus that does not share the same nature as SARS-CoV-2. The Covid-19 virus belongs to the coronaviridae family (the “coronaviruses”), while monkeypox is caused by an orthopoxvirus from the poxviridae family.
To date, the origin of the current multiplication of cases of the disease and its particular characteristics are still under study.
This theory began to circulate when Internet users highlighted the use of a chimpanzee adenovirus in the process of creating the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“Many rumors and false information are already spreading on the internet, in particular concerning a possible link between the disease and the anti-Covid vaccines which use a chimpanzee adenovirus as a viral vector. This link is absolutely unfounded, first of all because this virus is not specific to monkeys (…) Then, because it is part of the family of poxviruses and not of adenoviruses”, details Inserm on its site in a sheet of May 23, 2022.
AFP had already verified this claim in a previous article.