Claim: Two patients with monkeypox have been admitted into Jinnah Hospital

Fact: Medical Superintendent Jinnah Hosptial confirms that no patients with monkeypox have been admitted

On May 23, 2022, Dr Farooq Nawaz Sahil, a resident pulmonologist at Services Hospital Lahore tweeted that 2 patients with monkeypox have been admitted to Jinnah Hospital, Lahore and are being treated in the hospital’s isolation ward. ProPakistani, a digital media platform, shared the tweet on its website which became an extremely concerning public health update, reporting the first 2 cases of monkeypox in Pakistan.

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Although shortly after his tweet, Dr Sahil deleted it, the news spread like wildfire, primarily because the residual fear of a global pandemic has not completely worn off.

The ProPakistani post coincided with the national Institute of Health (NIH) and World Health Organization’s (WHO) warnings to expect a global rise in the number monkeypox cases reported. This made it more likely to be believed and spread a panic within social media users who started sharing it repeatedly. Some of these posts can be found on Facebook and Twitter here, here, here here, here, here, here and here.

Team Current established correspondence with Jinnah Hospital, Lahore and confirmed with the Medical Superintendent Dr Tahir that no such cases have been reported and in fact this false information has disrupted the hospital’s environment by creating unnecessary panic in citizens in Lahore. National Institute of Health Pakistan also tweeted earlier today, clarifying that no cases of monkeypox have been reported so far.

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Verdict: FALSE

What is Monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a virus and a usually self-limited disease with symptoms lasting from two to four weeks. It is transmittable through close contact (lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets, bedding) with an infected person or animal. It is a viral zoonotic disease and its clinical representation is similar to smallpox. According to the WHO report, past outbreaks were not extremely widespread and increasingly got better managed with modern medicine.

In May 2022, multiple cases of monkeypox were identified in several countries where occurence of monkeypox is not a regular phenomenon and so WHO and NIH issued warnings against the disease and suggested strongarming medical screening at border entrances.