Health experts debunk TikTok's mystery virus myth

Health experts debunk TikTok's mystery virus myth


Say social media spreads misinformation

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(Web Desk) - Amid growing concerns shared across social media platforms like TikTok, individuals are reporting symptoms akin to a "mystery virus," characterized by nausea, faintness, excess mucus, and other COVID-like symptoms such as difficulty breathing, extreme fatigue, and fever.

These accounts come from users who state they have tested negative for known viruses such as COVID-19, flu, and RSV. Public health experts, however, suggest that the fear surrounding this so-called mystery virus is more reflective of post-pandemic anxiety rather than the emergence of a new pathogen.

Experts debunk the mystery virus myth

Marcus Plescia, the Chief Medical Officer of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, highlighted to The Hill that the reported symptoms are consistent with various existing viruses, including the common cold.

The symptoms that are being described are pretty consistent with, you know, a lot of viruses that are not 'mystery viruses,' that are things that are out there circulating all year,

Plescia remarked, aiming to alleviate concerns about an unknown virus spreading.

George Benjamin, Executive Director of the American Public Health Association, echoed this sentiment, noting the expected rise in respiratory infections during the colder seasons, especially following years of pandemic-induced isolation.

Benjamin pointed out that with more in-person socializing, a broader spread of infections is likely, a situation exacerbated by the prolific sharing of personal health concerns on social media platforms.

Indeed, social media has become a double-edged sword in the dissemination of health information. On one hand, it allows for the rapid sharing of symptoms and experiences, but on the other, it can fuel hysteria and spread misinformation.

The spread of health misinformation is not a new challenge but has been highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Callum Hood, Head of Research at the Center for Countering Digital Hate, criticized social media platforms for failing to address health misinformation effectively.