Ebola outbreak rumors at Burning Man Festival – here’s why they’re false

The Burning Man festival in Nevada was dominated by rain, mud baths and videos of Chris Rock and Diplo’s escape – but online the picture is different.

A spate of false information about an “Ebola outbreak” at the festival erupted on social media, prompting mass panic.

The hashtag #Ebola has accounted for almost a quarter of posts on TikTok and Twitter from the Nevada region over the past few days.

Sky News has looked into where some of these come from – and why they’re wrong.

Tens of thousands of partygoers were stranded in northern Nevada’s Black Rock Desert after heavy rains that began Thursday.

One of the false claims circulating is that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed an Ebola outbreak in Black Rock City.

Screenshots of a fake CDC post claiming an outbreak was “confirmed” were shared on platforms like X, formerly known as Twitter, on Sunday and had over 300,000 views.

The post includes a manipulated infographic with health advice from a previous CDC Ebola campaign, but replaces the subtitle “Recently in Africa?” to “Recently in Nevada?”

The screenshot makes it appear that the official CDC-X page, which uses the @CDCgov handle, published the post.

But a closer look at the actual report reveals that the center hasn’t publicly mentioned an outbreak in Nevada.

In a community note to

#Ebola dominates almost a quarter of the posts

The hashtag #Ebola has also dominated social media posts from the Nevada region for the past few days, data from social listening platform TalkWalker shows.

Between August 27 and August 31, Ebola does not appear in TikTok and X posts from the Nevada region.

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Ebola was one of the most-posted terms on TikTok and Twitter in Nevada between September 1st and September 4th. Image: TalkWalker

But between Friday and Monday, when the festival was disrupted by the weather, #Ebola dominated 21.4% of posts on both social media platforms in the region – showing how widespread the claim has become across the internet.

It’s unclear why the misinformation surrounding the event focused specifically on an Ebola virus outbreak and where it originally began.

The misinformation online has confused even festival-goers who are still at Burning Man, confirming that there has been no outbreak of the virus.

Other online posts also mention the Marburg virus, which belongs to the same family as the virus that causes Ebola.

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