A social media prank has killed two people in Nigeria after victims of the joke drank excessive amounts of salt water to become immune to the Ebola virus. The Ebola prevention hoax also resulted in the hospitalization of 20 people.
ABC News reports that a student sent a text claiming that drinking a large amount of salt water will prevent the Ebola virus. The false claim reached social media and quickly spread across the region.
According to the Nigerian newspaper Vanguard News, the two people that died after ingesting the salt water suffered from high blood pressure.
Once the Nigerian ministry of health got word of the hoax, it responding, telling citizens that there is no cure for Ebola and salt water will not prevent the virus.
"Other people also amplified the message from the ministry and it was all over," said Edwin Ikhuoria, of Bono’s ONE campaign to end poverty in Africa.
The student who originally posted the message has apologized for the harm that was caused.
Publication date: September 30, 2014