A message that warns people against the use of the paracetamol P/500 has resurfaced on social media. The text of the hoax states, “URGENT WARNING! Be careful not to take the paracetamol that comes written P-500. It’s new, very white and shiny paracetamol. Doctors prove to contain ”Machupo” virus, considered one of the most dangerous viruses in the world with high mortality rate. Please share this message for all people and families and save life from them.“.
The message has been circulated uses varied images.
It is also circulating with a Hindi message that says, “कृप्या ये पैरासिटामोल न खाएं न ख़रीदे जिसपे P /500 लिखा हो इसमें एक वाइरस पाया गया है जो विश्व के सबसे खतरनाक में से एक है। यह जानकारी सभी को भेजो। “
Viral since 2017
While this message has been viral in various forms, a 2017 post on a Facebook page called Dr Römal Möhammadi was shared over 277,000 times.
The crux of the message is that the P-500 paracetamol tablet contains a deadly virus called Machupo virus. However, Machupo virus which causes the Bolivian haemorrhagic fever is limited to South America. Moreover, it typically infects rodents and it is comparatively rare in humans. There are no known cases of Machupo virus in India. This hoax has been debunked by various Indian newspapers such as Hindu and Bangalore Mirror.
The Malaysian Government put out an official press release denouncing this hoax and stating that the tablet doesn’t contain any virus.
The Indonesian Food and Drug Administration (BPOM) has also put out an official statement declaring the viral message to be a hoax.
Fact-checker website Snopes also published a fact-check regarding this and stated that the P-500 paracetamol tablets contain no virus.
Even though multiple newspapers, fact-checkers and government agencies have put out information stating that the information is a hoax, this message still continues to be viral.
[This article was updated on August 12, 2019.]
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