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Salt Water Ebola Prevention Hoax Leads to Deaths

by Brett M. Christensen

A social media hoax, which falsely claimed that drinking or bathing in salt water could prevent infection from the deadly Ebola virus, has reportedly led to at least two deaths.

The social media hoax, which started as a text message sent by a Nigerian student, spread rapidly. It also spawned word-of-mouth rumours. 
The message advised people to drink as much salt water as possible as a means of warding off the virus. It also claimed that Ebola was spreading through the air and instructed people to bath in hot salty water before daybreak to prevent infection.

The false story found fertile ground among communities living in fear of Ebola. And sadly, at least two people have died after drinking excessive amounts of salty water. The two who died are thought to have had high blood pressure and were therefore especially susceptible to high salt consumption.

A number of other people were hospitalized.

Of course, drinking or bathing in salt water will do nothing whatsoever to prevent infection from the Ebola virus. Nor does Ebola spread through the air.

This case illustrates the potential dangers of spreading misinformation. It is vital that Internet users verify information before sharing circulating messages, especially when it comes to health-related issues.



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