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Fact Check: Do Paracetamol P-500 tablets contain deadly virus named ‘Machupo’?

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Quick Take

A message is doing rounds across social media advising readers to avoid consuming paracetamol tablets with P-500 written on it. The viral message states that the tablets contain the deadly Machupo virus, which gets transmitted to the person consuming the tablet. The fact check revealed that the viral claim is false.

The Claim

The viral message shared on social media reads: “URGENT WARNING! 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 in 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 other & themselves! Forward as received.
As per the viral message, Paracetamol that has P-500 written on it contains the deadly Machupo virus.

Investigation

We searched Google using appropriate keywords (Paracetamol contains the deadly Machupo virus) and found many posts that claimed that Paracetamol that has P-500 written on it contains the deadly Machupo virus.
The post had been shared multiple times in different parts of the world, including India.
Here are some examples:

Paracetamol-P-500-Machupo-Virus-Fake-Claim-1          Paracetamol-P-500-Machupo-Virus-Fake-Claim-2

We searched what exactly is Machupo virus and found a report that says: Machupo (also known as “Bolivian hemorrhagic virus” or “black typhus”) is endemic in north and east Bolivia and is generally spread through air or food.

Nowhere in the report it was mentioned that Paracetamol is contaminated with Machupo virus.
We found another report by Indonesia’s Food and Drug Administration counterpart that advised that the claim is a hoax.

The report by Indonesia’s Food and Drug Administration reads: [Prior to the spread of social media rumors, the agency] never received credible reports that support the claim that the Machupo virus has been found in Paracetamol drug product or other drug products. Machupo virus itself is known is a type of virus that spread can occur through air, food, or direct contact. Machupo virus can be sourced from the saliva, urine, or feces of infected rodents and become a carrier (reservoir ) of the virus. Head POM, Penny K. Lukito said that POM never find things like that rumored, including Machupo virus content in the drug product.

We found another report dated February 8, 2017, in which public health officials in Malaysia debunked the rumors as well. The report stated: The Malaysian Health Ministry today shot down rumours circulating on social media that P/500 paracetamol tablets in Malaysia contain the ‘Machupo’ virus.

Malaysia’s Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said, just like most viruses, the Machupo cannot live in dry environments such as in paracetamol tablets.

We also found a report by the Health Sciences Authority that stated: The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) would like to inform members of the public that an “alert” that is circulating on social media regarding the transmission of “Machupo” virus through paracetamol tablets is a hoax. Its content is untrue.

We contacted Dr. Sanjeev Kumar, C.S.C, D.C.H, M.B.B.S, General Physician and he stated: “No, this claim is a hoax. Paracetamol P-500 tablets do not contain Machupo virus.”

Conclusion

The claim that Paracetamol P-500 tablets contain deadly virus named ‘Machupo’ is a false claim. Paracetamol tablets do not contain Machupo virus.

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can further read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

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Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

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