Multiple conspiracy theories, hoaxes, and quack cures have circulated about ebola viruses, regarding the origin of outbreaks, treatments for ebola virus disease, and preventative measures.

Unproven and disproven treatments

During the Western African Ebola virus epidemic (2013-2016), a number of unproven and fake treatments were marketed online in the United States, including snake venom, vitamin C, "Nano Silver", and various homeopathic and herbal remedies,[1][2] including clove oil, garlic, and ewedu soup.[3] Gary Coody, national health fraud coordinator for the FDA, described the purveyors of these unproven treatments as "like storm-chasing roofers, who go and try to defraud people after a big storm. Some of them may be making an honest mistake; other companies are trying to rip people off."[4] Coody also said the problem with implausible and unproven remedies is not only that they are unlikely to work, but also that such treatments may lead to patients delaying effective and timely medical care in a hospital setting.[1]

Implausible and disproven methods for preventing Ebola

During the 2014 and 2019 outbreaks, a number of hoax remedies for the prevention of Ebola were spread online. One such common thread was the frequent use of essential oils.[5] There is no evidence that any of these treatments will decrease the risk of Ebola virus infection, and no known plausible mechanisms for such an effect.[5]

Virus origins

During the 2014 outbreak in Liberia, an article in the Liberian Observer alleged that the virus was a bioweapon designed by the US military as a form of population control.[6] Other theories spreading online during the pandemic alleged that the New World Order had engineered the virus to impose quarantines and travel bans to soften an eventual descent into martial law.[6] During a 2019 outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, rumors spread that the virus was imported to the country for financial gain,[7] or as part of a plot to procure organs for the black market.[8][9]


  1. ^ a b Silverman, Laura (23 October 2014). "FDA Cracks Down On Fake Ebola Cures Sold Online". Retrieved 1 November 2022.
  2. ^ Young, Saundra (26 September 2014). "FDA warns companies about fake Ebola drugs". CNN. Retrieved 1 November 2022.
  3. ^ Oyeyemi, Sunday Oluwafemi; Gabarron, Elia; Wynn, Rolf (14 October 2014). "Ebola, Twitter, and misinformation: a dangerous combination?". BMJ. 349: g6178. doi:10.1136/bmj.g6178. ISSN 1756-1833. PMID 25315514. Retrieved 1 November 2022.
  4. ^ Silverman, Laura (20 October 2014). "Watch Out: Fake Ebola Treatments Are Spreading". KERA News. Retrieved 1 November 2022.
  5. ^ a b Healy, Melissa (3 October 2014). "Unproven Ebola cures, preventives proliferate". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 1 November 2022.
  6. ^ a b Feuer, Alan (18 October 2014). "The Ebola Conspiracy Theories". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 October 2022.
  7. ^ Joselow, Gabe; Givetash, Linda (20 April 2019). "Conspiracy theories, rumors threaten the battle against Ebola". NBC News. Retrieved 27 October 2022.
  8. ^ "How This Pastor of a Megachurch Is Fueling Ebola Conspiracy Theories". Time. Retrieved 27 October 2022.
  9. ^ Ouattara, Syna; Århem, Nikolas (January 2021). "Fighting Ebola in the Shadow of Conspiracy Theories and Sorcery Suspicions. Reflections on the West African EVD Outbreak in Guinea-Conakry (2013–2016)". African Studies Notebooks. Retrieved 27 October 2022.