The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers about fraudulent Ebola treatment products being offered for sale.
In an announcement issued on Thursday, the agency said that it had seen and received consumer complaints about various products being offered online that are claimed to either prevent the Ebola virus or treat the infection.
This comes after an outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa.
The FDA noted that, while there are experimental Ebola vaccines and treatments under development, these investigational products are in the early stages of product development. They have not yet been fully tested for safety or effectiveness, and there is only a very limited supply.
As yet there are no FDA-approved vaccines, drugs or investigational products to prevent or treat Ebola. Moreover, dietary supplements are not allowed to be offered alongside claims that they can prevent or cure disease.
The FDA sought to reassure the public by noting that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Ebola does not pose a significant risk to the general public in the United States. It said that when an outbreak occurs it is common to see fraudulent products that claim to prevent, treat or cure a disease appearing on the market.
As part of its work the FDA monitors for such fraudulent products and false claims and takes appropriate action to protect consumers.
Ebola is the cause of a viral hemorrhagic fever disease. In the United States, Ebola is not a water-borne or food-borne illness and is not transmitted through the air. It is spread through direct contact with the body fluids of an infected person, or with objects such as needles that have been contaminated with the virus, the FDA said.