Some blogger, reportedly from Norway, has taken irresponsible behavior to a frightening extreme by posting a homeopathic “cure” to Ebola that would more-than-likely lead to a quicker, more certain death.
The offending blog post has been removed from the website Natural News after reporters, including from the New York Daily News and The Independent, brought it to mainstream attention. The content of the original article, which recommended ingesting saliva from infected patients, has been replaced with an apology and a warning not to interact with Ebola. Comments from the original post remain, including: “If you don’t mind, I’ll let you go first.”
Ken Oftedal, a self-proclaimed physicist who hides his tweets, must have known there’s no actual cure yet for an Ebola infection, so he decided to invent one himself, apparently based on his extensive research on J.K. Rowling’s novels. All you need, he writes, according to the Daily News, is:
- A face mask and gloves
- Two bottles (50 ml up to 500 ml glass or plastic bottles) with caps
- Clean water (mineral or tap)
- An Ebola sample: some spit or other disease product, such as blood, from a person infected with Ebola, or who is suspected sick with it. Any small quantity will do, even a pinhead.
- An alcoholic liquid, such as whisky, brandy, rum, etc.
- Half an hour of your time
Then, just fill the bottle with the water and the virus, and beat it against a rock 40 times (no more, no less). Empty the bottle, and repeat the procedure 30 times. He cites no evidence and forgets to explain exactly how consuming Ebola could be a good thing. In fact, contact with the bodily fluids of those infected is precisely the reason the virus spreads.
Most readers would dismiss this as silly (and I’m sure PublicHealthWatch readers do!). But for someone desperate to find an Ebola cure, and for those who are vulnerable to misinformation and superstition, the promise of a cure could overpower their better senses. Already, rural Africans have blamed foreign doctors for bringing the disease upon them, and have even accused them of extracting patients to hospitals and murdering them.
“What is actually creating the greatest problem is the behavior of the population,” one United Nations official told the Global Post. Into this environment enters Oftedal, writing that “alternative self-treatment, in particular, homeopathy, would be your only hope of survival.”
Here’s the apology from Natural News: “Natural News was made aware of a blog post that seemed to recommend a highly questionable method related to Ebola prevention. The blog post has been removed pending further investigation, and the blogger is under review. Natural News does not condone any member of the public attempting to interact with Ebola, a very hazardous biological threat.”
Currently there are no known cures for Ebola. Standard treatment for those infected with the virus is still limited to supportive therapy. This consists of:
- balancing the patient’s fluids and electrolytes
- maintaining their oxygen status and blood pressure
- treating them for any complicating infections
To learn more about the misinformation surrounding Ebola, check out “Seven Of The Most Common (And Harmful) Myths About Ebola.”