HOAX – ‘Cool Drink Contaminated With Ebola Virus’

Circulating Facebook message warns users not to consume ‘Cool Drink’ because a company worker has added blood contaminated with Ebola virus to the product.

Brief Analysis:
The claims in the warning message are nonsense. There are no credible reports of such a contamination and Ebola is not spread by consuming commercial food or drink. The message is just a revamped version of several earlier ‘contamination’ hoaxes and should not be taken seriously.

Important message from manila police to all over philippines and india: for the next few weeks do not drink any product of COOL DRINK as a worker from the company has added his blood contaminated with Ebola virus. It was shown yesterday on NDTV news…. Pls forward this msg urgently to people you care… Take careEbola Virus Hoax Cool Drink

Detailed Analysis:
According to a post circulating via Facebook, you should not drink any product called ‘Cool Drink’ over coming weeks because a worker has contaminated the product with his Ebola infected blood. Supposedly, the ‘important message’ was issued by Manila Police and aired on TV news. It asks that you urgently forward the information to people that you care about so that they will be forewarned of the danger. The message features an image depicting a diseased human hand.

However, the claims in the would-be warning are utter nonsense. There are no credible news reports that support the claims in the message. Nor is the supposed contamination mentioned on the Manilla Police District website or any other offical police or health authority outlet. Moreover, there is no evidence that Ebola can be spread by eating or drinking commercial food or beverages. In a Q&A about Ebola, the CDC notes that:

Ebola virus is not spread by consuming food, with the possible exception of bushmeat.


There is no evidence that foods produced commercially have ever transmitted Ebola virus anywhere in the world.

In fact, the message is just a revamped version of earlier hoaxes that falsely claimed that a worker had deliberately contaminated other commercial beverages with HIV or Ebola infected blood:

URGENT !!!!Please,don’t buy or drink any bottled water called “DEW”. Customs says it was shipped into Nigeria from Tanzania where it has killed 180 people and now finding its way into south africa. It is said to contain ebola. Please pass this on and save millions. If u don’t believe check google for “DEW bottled water. (SFTBC)

There’s news from the police. Its an urgent message for all. For next few days don’t drink any product from pepsi company’s like pepsi, slice, 7up etc. A worker from the company has added his blood contaminated with AIDS.. Watch MDTV dstv channel 413. please forward this to everyone on your list.

And, an almost identical version of the hoax claimed that it was the fruit drink product Maaza that had been contaminated:

Important msg from Hyderabad police to all over India:
For the next few weeks do not drink any product of Maaza, as a worker from the company has added his blood contaminated with Ebola. It was shown yesterday on NDTV… Pls forward this msg urgently to people you care… Take Care!!

The rather vague reference to ‘Cool Drink’ in the message may be referring to all types of soft drink rather than just one product. The slang term ‘cooldrink’ is a South African English word for soft drink.

Sending on these false contamination warnings will serve only to spread fear and alarm and will certainly not help keep anybody safe from Ebola, HIV, or any other health threat. If you receive one of these false warnings, do not share it on your networks. And please let the sender know the information is untrue.

Last updated: June 6, 2016
First published: June 6, 2016
By Brett M. Christensen
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