Claim: A forward has been circulated on WhatsApp, claiming that a simple treatment involving an anointing of oil is all that is needed to prevent dengue fever.
Source: WhatsApp, Facebook.
The message also has a link to a personal Facebook profile, a man named Pradeep Verma. We attempted to contact him regarding this post, but at the time of publishing, had not received a response.
It reads as follows:
‘डेंगू बुखार फैल रहा है। अपने घुटनों से पैर के पंजे तक नारियल का तेल (coconut oil) लगायें। यह एक एंटीबायोटिक परत की तरह सुबह से शाम तक काम करता है। डेंगू का मच्छर घुटनों तक की ऊँचाई से ज्यादा नही उड़ सकता है। किसी को dengu हुआ हो तो हरी ईलायची के दानो को मुँख में दोनो तरफ रखे, ख्याल रहे , चबाये नही. खाली मुँख में रखने से ही खून के कण नार्मल और प्लेटलेट्स तुरंत ही बढ़ जाते हैं । यह संदेश सभी को भेजने नम्र विनंती है । डेंगू को 48 घंटे मे समाप्त । करने की क्षमता रखने वाली दवा । कृपया इस संदेश को अधिक से अधिक लोगो तक भेजे महत्वपूर्ण सूचना :-
यदि किसी को डेगूँ या साधारण बुखार के कारण प्लेटलेट्स कम हो गयी है तो एक होमोपेथिक दवा है।
EUPATORIUM PERFOIAM 200 liquid dilution homeopathic medicine. इसकी 3 या 4 बूँदें प्रत्येक 2-2 घँटें में साधारण पानी में ड़ाल कर मात्र 2 दिन पिलायें । यदि आप पुण्यं कमाना चाहते हैं तो यह संदेश धर्म-प्रसाद मान कर सभी को प्रेषित करे ।
This translates to: ‘Dengue fever is spreading. Apply coconut oil to your feet upto the knees. It works from morning to evening like an antibiotic layer. The Dengue mosquito cannot fly higher than the knees. If anyone is suffering from dengue, then place green cardamom on both sides of your tongue, but do not chew, and blood platelets will grow immediately.
This message is a humble request to be sent to everyone. Dengue ends in 48 hours. Please send this important notice to as many people as you can. If someone has depleted or caused platelets due to normal fever, then there is a homeopathic medicine called Eupatorium Perfoiam 200, a liquid dilution homeopathic medicine. Pour 3 or 4 drops of it in 2 hours in normal water and drink it for 2 days. If you want to earn virtue, then this message should be treated as a religious gift and sent to everyone you know.’
Facts: This message is yet another WhatsApp forward spreading dangerously spurious information about a potential cure for dengue fever. This particular season sees a lot of dengue cases, and it is dangerous in the extreme to be circulating false information that could keep people from going to hospitals where they need to be treated for dengue, as this season is the time when most dengue cases are registered.
A few actual facts about dengue fever:
Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral disease and is transmitted by female mosquitoes mainly of the species Aedes aegypti and, to a lesser extent, Ae. albopictus. This mosquito also transmits chikungunya, yellow fever and Zika infection. According to the National Centre For Biological Information, the Aedes mosquito has been recorded at flying at a height of over 200 metres to lay its eggs in trees and in mountainous areas. So clearly, there is no truth to the assertion that they can only fly at knee height.
Moreover, according to the World Health Organization, there is no specific treatment for dengue fever. For severe dengue, medical care by physicians and nurses experienced with the effects and progression of the disease can save lives – decreasing mortality rates from more than 20% to less than 1%, mostly through maintenance of the patient’s body fluid volume. It is therefore unlikely in the extreme that the application of coconut oil alone, as this message claims, will be enough to ward of the mosquitoes that carry it.
Conclusion: Whenever a disease starts circulating, specious health tips are often not far behind. Metafact has previously debunked a similar story during the outbreak of the Nipah Virus.These sorts of forwards are particularly pernicious, as they tend to be sent in good faith and thus can lead people to believe their wholly false claims.