Ebola is a viral hemorrhagic fever that kills up to 90% of its victims. The disease originated in West Africa and the area is suffering through a major outbreak in 2014, with at least 5000 dead to date. Ebola is spread through contact with the bodily fluids of an infected person. Medical authorities say that that Ebola is still spreading in the area because of limited medical facilities, lack of training and cultural practices regarding disposal of the dead.
Unfortunately, scammers will always take advantage of a tragedy to try and make a quick buck, and this year’s Ebola outbreak is no exception to the rule. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission published an alert, warning consumers not to fall for any of a new wave of Ebola scams sweeping the country.
Avoid Ebola scams: Currently no cure
The FTC alert highlights that there is currently no cure for Ebola. According to the alert: “There are currently no FDA-approved vaccines or drugs to prevent or treat Ebola. Although there are experimental Ebola vaccines and treatments under development, these are in the early stages of product development, have not yet been fully tested for safety or effectiveness, and the supply is very limited. There are no approved vaccines, drugs, or products specifically for Ebola available for purchase online or in stores”
Ebola scams – Dietary supplements cannot prevent or cure Ebola
The October 9th FTC alert also highlights that no dietary supplements can prevent or cure Ebola. This statement is fully supported by the supplements industry. The alert also tells consumers if they see “companies or products touting these claims, report them to the FTC and/or FDA (Food and Drug Administration).”
Ebola scams – Steps to minimize risk of exposure
The FTC notes that you are traveling to an area of Africa where the 2014 Ebola outbreak is occurring, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can provide you with a list of steps to take to minimize your risk of exposure. Of note, Ebola is not spread through casual contact, which means the risk of an outbreak in the U.S. or Europe is quite low.