Article about monkeypox living on door handles for 120 years is fake

29 July 2022
What was claimed published an article claiming monkeypox can live on door handles and toilet seats for 120 years and can infect anyone from five miles away.

Our verdict never published such an article and the claims made in the headline are completely unevidenced.

A large number of posts on Facebook claim to show a screenshot of an article from Irish news website with the headline: “Monkeypox can live on door handles and toilet seats for 120 years and can infect anyone from 5 miles away”. 

The article's subheading states: “‘Without wishing to sound alarmist it’s certainly time to panic now,’ said a [University College Dublin] expert with a degree in Journalism but who once read a really good book on virology”. 

This image has been digitally altered—Full Fact could find no evidence of ever having published such a headline and Stephen McDermott, an assistant news editor at The Journal, told The Associated Press: “We have never published an article with that headline or information in it”. 

The far-fetched headline and wording of the subheading may indicate that whoever created the image intended it to be satirical, but we have seen some examples of the post apparently being shared sincerely. 

While monkeypox can be spread through contact with contaminated objects and surfaces, there is absolutely no evidence to substantiate claims it can last for 120 years. 

More commonly, the virus is also passed from person to person via close physical contact, by touching clothing, bedding or towels used by someone with monkeypox, and through the coughs or sneezes of a person with monkeypox in close proximity—not five miles away. 

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