HOAX – “Machupo Virus In Paracetamol”

Outline:
“Urgent” message circulating via social media claims that a new “very white and shiny” type of paracetamol tablets labelled P/500 contains the dangerous Machupo virus.

Brief Analysis:
The claims in the warning are utter nonsense. There are no credible reports that support the claim that the Machupo virus has been found in paracetamol or any other medication. Machupo is spread primarily via aerosol transmission of dust particles from infected rodents. Sharing this false warning will help nobody.



Example:
URGENT WARNING!
Be careful not to take the paracetamol that comes written P / 500. It is a new, very white and shiny paracetamol, doctors prove to contain “Machupo” virus, considered one of the most dangerous viruses in the world. And with high mortality rate. Please share this message, for all people and family. And save life from them ….. I’ve done my part, now it’s your turn … remember that God helps those who help.
Machupo Virus Paracetamol Warning Hoax

 

Detailed Analysis:
This “urgent” message, which is circulating rapidly via social media, warns you not to take a new “very white and shiny” type of paracetamol tablets that are labelled “P/500 “. Supposedly, doctors have found that this type of paracetamol contains the “Machupo” virus. According to the message, Machupo is one of the most dangerous viruses in the world and has a high mortality rate. The message asks you to share the information with others in the hope of saving lives.

Thankfully, however, the claims in the message are utter nonsense.

There are no credible news or health authority reports about such a paracetamol contamination.  Nor have there been any official recalls of the supposedly contaminated medication. Of course, if the dangerous contamination described in the message was really taking place, there would be widespread news and media coverage of the incident along with official health warnings to consumers. And, of course, any contaminated products would have been removed from store shelves as the result of an official recall. The complete absence of any official news or government reports about the alleged contamination is enough, of itself, to reveal the warning message as a hoax.

Moreover, the Machupo virus is spread primarily via aerosol transmission of dust particles from the faeces and urine of infected rodents. And, although viruses like Machupo may survive for up to two weeks in blood specimens outside the host, it cannot survive in dry environments. Thus, it would seem extremely unlikely that the virus could somehow survive the manufacturing process of the paracetamol tablets and weeks or months of subsequent storage in shops and home medicine cabinets.

If the claims in the message were true, then, presumably, there would have been a recent spike in reported cases.  But, I could find no information about such a spike. In fact, it appears that there have been no reported human cases for several years.

In short, this supposed warning is just one more variant in a long line of false and misleading contamination hoaxes that have circulated the Internet in various forms for many years. Sharing these false messages helps nobody. Sharing serves only to spread misinformation and needlessly cause fear and alarm.

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