Blood samples and stethoscope on white background

Vacutainer with monkeypox blood sample for testing. (© blackday -

PHILADELPHIA — As if dealing with a deadly pandemic isn’t bad enough, another virus has now exploded onto the scene. The World Health Organization declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency in July 2022, as cases are rising across the United States and throughout the world. While many people may fear they’ll contract the virus, it turns out few actually know all the facts about monkeypox.

Even though monkeypox has come to the public forefront and has been blasted across the news, a new national survey from the Annenberg Public Police Center finds that many Americans know little about the virus. Overall, 80 percent have seen, read, or heard something about monkeypox in the past month.

While one in five are concerned about contracting monkeypox, 48 percent don’t know whether monkeypox is more or less contagious than COVID-19. Another 66 percent are not sure or don’t believe there is a monkeypox vaccine, even though there is.

“It’s important that the public calibrate its concerns to the reality of the risk of COVID-19 and monkeypox and act appropriately,” says Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center, in a media release.

Monkeypox, discovered in 1958, is a less deadly member of the same family of viruses as smallpox. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the virus is transmitted by direct contact with an infectious skin lesion, scabs, body fluids, respiratory secretions, infected animals, or by touching items contaminated by infectious body fluids.

monkeypox survey
Worry about contracting monkeypox or Covid-19 over the next three months. Asked of 1,580 adults on the Annenberg Public Policy Center ASK survey, July 12-18, 2022. CREDIT: Annenberg Public Policy Center

Pathways to infection are a mystery to many

The survey reveals that many Americans are familiar with monkeypox but lack information about the disease and how to protect themselves. Sixty-nine percent of respondents know that monkeypox usually spreads by close contact with an infected person, however 26 percent are not sure whether that is true or false. Only 34 percent said they know that a monkeypox vaccine exists.

Fourteen percent incorrectly believe that monkeypox is as contagious as COVID, while only 36 percent correctly said that monkeypox is less contagious.

When asked about monkeypox and the COVID-19 vaccine, 67 percent think that getting the COVID-19 vaccine doesn’t increase the likelihood of contracting monkeypox. However, 28 percent were not sure. Researchers say there is no evidence that this is true.

Researchers also asked survey takers if they thought people working with animals have a higher risk of contracting monkeypox. A third said no, nine percent said yes, and 57 percent were not sure.

Another survey question revolved around the concern that there’s a higher risk of infection for men who have sex with other men. Thirty-three percent of Americans said yes, while 66 percent either said this is false or they did not know. The WHO says that most cases outside of Africa during this outbreak have been mainly among men who have sex with other men.

“The time to reduce susceptibility to misinformation about monkeypox is now,” notes Jamieson. “It is critically important that public health professionals offer anxious individuals accurate information about the ways in which this virus is transmitted and infection prevented. Vaccinating those who are at higher risk should be a national priority.”

Monkeypox conspiracy theories are already circulating

Jamieson adds that there are a number of Americans who have embraced conspiracy theories about monkeypox. The survey found that 34 percent are not sure if monkeypox was bioengineered in a lab and 12 percent believe that this is probably or definitely true. However, over half of Americans rejected that conspiracy.

Fourteen percent believe monkeypox was intentionally released into the global population, while 30 percent say they aren’t sure. One in 10 think it’s “probably or definitely true” that scientists released the virus to deflect attention away from the failures of the Biden Administration, while 19 percent are not sure. Another 21 percent of respondents are unsure if monkeypox infections are the result of 5G exposure.

“As one would expect, conspiracy theorists have incorporated monkeypox into their pre-existing beliefs that, instead of emerging through natural processes, a spreading virus must have been bioengineered, intentionally released to accomplish a political objective, or is the byproduct of exposure to a pervasive new technology such as 5G,” says Jamieson.

The Annenberg Public Policy Center surveyed 1,580 American adults from July 12-18.

About Matt Higgins

Matt Higgins worked in national and local news for 15 years. He started out as an overnight production assistant at Fox News Radio in 2007 and ended in 2021 as the Digital Managing Editor at CBS Philadelphia. Following his news career, he spent one year in the automotive industry as a Digital Platforms Content Specialist contractor with Subaru of America and is currently a freelance writer and editor for StudyFinds. Matt believes in facts, science and Philadelphia sports teams crushing his soul.

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  1. JWH says:

    You left out the part about it being transmitted thru male to male sex. Kind of a biggie if you ask me.

  2. Michael West says:

    It makes a lot of sense to derive public education campaigns from survey data and that is great.

    However my concern in regard to calling things a conspiracy is that as far as I know we really have no concrete public information on how these outbreaks truly originated.

    So to ask questions you don’t know the answers to, and then call responses you don’t like “conspiracy theories” is not just irresponsible but it also casts a negative light on other data from the survey which may be useful.

  3. Lar Jam says:

    In the end times horrible events far greater than these will come like a pregnant lady with constant and more contractions until birth which will be cataclysmic activity. God’s anger at his creation not asking for forgiveness of sin and denying his existence. Yes Climate is changing and it’s all because of man. No amount of money will fix it but by repentance and to accept the Lord Jesus as your savior. Then you will be protected against loss of life.

    1. Dan King says:

      Go on

    2. John C. Tokalenko says:

      The End Times are now. The wormwood prophecy was already fulfilled with the Wormwood Nuclear Power Plant in 1986 (“Chernobyl” is Ukrainian for wormwood).

      Monkeypox is just another bioweapon deployed by the followers of Satan, which are part of the plagues of Revelation. And the “vaccine” for COVID-19 is the fulfillment of the “pharmakeia” of Revelation.

  4. CaptainObvious says:

    What we do know is that if you don’t engage in unprotected sex you’ll be fine. so no one casre about a vaccine unless you are engaged in unprotected sex.

  5. Tom Pompano says:

    Nobody cares about the “next thing” being wheeled out by the media. When and if it becomes a real crisis we’ll deal with it then. You, the media, have lost our trust

  6. John C. Tokalenko says:

    “Conspiracy theories,” LOL. Thinking people can see how the “experts” have lied pathologically to all of us, with great injury to millions of people. The blind faith the “scientists” (sic) expect will no longer be extended to them.

    This current monkeypox is nothing like natural monkeypox in Africa, so it’s logical to presume it had a “gain of function” from work in a lab. Probably funded by Fauci, as well, like SARS 2.

  7. A. says:

    ???????????? Y’all are just doom gloom and despair. Also…every disease we get immunized for as children, were intentionally released in society. Covid and monkey pox are no different. Do you think our entire population is that stupid? The timing of every new disease is right before election campaigns. It’s been two and a half years since the alleged covid19 outbreak and now with roughly 6 months until Presidential campaigns start, this fake bs falls from the sky.
    Stop writing this crap, you’re adding to a problem that’s never even been a problem. ????‍♀️