Rumours are circulating across the Internet that warns readers not to consume a paracetamol that comes with P / 500 written on the packaging. The warning claims that such paracetamols contain the “Machupo” virus, a virus with a high mortality rate.
An example of the warning can be seen below –
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!
The warning is nonsense, and fails to back up any of its very serious claims with any reliable sources or evidence. There have been no product recalls or health warnings related to the Machupo virus, no media coverage and no explanation as to why this virus would be found in paracetamol tablets. Of course if such a health scare was genuine, it would receive extensive coverage and we would not need to rely on “copy and paste” social media warnings.
While the Machupo virus is real, it is a virus that typically infects rodents and it is comparatively rare in humans. Additionally, transmission to humans usually occurs either from bite wounds from ticks that had caught the infection from rodents, or through inhalation.
virus is most commonly transmitted to humans through bite wounds of ticks that inhabit infected rodents, mosquitoes, or through inhalation of microareosols from infected rodents
Such baseless health warnings are common in the realm of online scarelore. For example, both Pepsi and Coca Cola have both for years had to deal with the urban legend that a disgruntled worker infected many bottles of their product with the HIV virus, and more recent examples have claimed bananas imported from various African nations were infected with HIV infected blood.
When it comes to health warnings, there is always enough reputable media reporting on such cases without having to rely on social media. If you do come across a health warning of this nature and are concerned, we recommend confirming it with a health agency before spreading. Check reputable media or websites such as the FDA (US), Health Canada (Canada), Australian Department of Health (Australia) or Gov Drug Recall or Food Standards Agency (UK).
In this case, no agency or outlet has reported on such a case as described in this warning and there has been no evident spike in cases related to the Machupo virus. As such, it can be dismissed as false.