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Home Hoaxes HOAX – “Machupo Virus in Paracetamol”

HOAX – “Machupo Virus in Paracetamol”

by Brett M. Christensen

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.  Some versions tack on images of a young girl with a severe skin disorder. However, the image depicts a case of Stevens-Johnson syndrome and is in no way related to paracetamol or the Machupo virus. Sharing this false warning will help nobody. A “P/500” label on paracetamol packaging simply indicates that each tablet contains 500 mg of paracetamol.

Examples

URGENT WARNING! CAN KILL U. Also known as Tylenol and othe names please google.
Be careful not to take the paracetamol that comes written P / 500. It is a new, very white and shiny paracetamol, doctors advise that it contains “Machupo” virus, considered one of the most dangerous viruses in the world, with a high mortality rate. Please share this message, with all people on your contact list as well as family, and save a life or lives ….I’ve done my part, now it’s your turn … remember that God helps those who help others & themselves!
Same as Tylenol

 

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

 

Machupo Virus Hoax Post

 

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.

A “P/500” label on paracetamol packaging simply indicates that each tablet contains 500 mg of paracetamol.

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.

Some versions of the hoax include an image depicting a young girl with a severe skin disorder. The message implies that the girl’s condition was caused by the virus infected paracetamol. However, media reports indicate that the image actually shows a girl with a rare disorder called Stevens-Johnson syndrome. This disorder has no connection to paracetamol or the  Machupo virus.



Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,
Hoax-Slayer