With swine flu triggering a worldwide scare, a number of websites have come up with fake herbal remedies, protection guides and advertisements espousing a magic cure.
According to McAfee security experts, Internet domain registrations mentioning the word "swine" have gone up, indicating a rise in malicious sites that take advantage of the scare.
A new site offers a dodgy "Swine Flu Prevention Guide" for USD 19.95, Mcafee says, While another company claims H1N1 cure that works in 12 hours, the report says. "This compound does not treat the flu symptoms but instead kills the virus in a few hours. It has no known side effects and no adverse long term effects," the advertisement claims.
A new promotion on the web also asserts that swine flu can be eradicated by using colloidal silver, a mixture that includes very fine silver particles and claims "Here are 7 important steps you should consider taking right now in order to protect yourself and your family."
US Food and Drug Association in 1999 had banned claims of therapeutic value for over-the-counter colloidal silver products as studies had pointed out that it could cause seizures and kidney damage.
Numerous websites are also offering homeopathic and ayurvedic treatment to the dreaded disease. "Allopathic medicine has no "cure" for flu. Rather, allopathy only attempts to "control" the disease. However, Ayurveda treats flu by removing its root cause and giving permanent relief," claims a website naming cinnamon, basil leaves, cloves as useful in overcoming swine flu.
The US FDA and the Federal Trade Commission had also recently alerted the public to be wary of Internet sites and other promotions for products that claim to prevent the H1N1 influenza virus. "Products that are offered for sale to the public with claims to diagnose, prevent, mitigate, treat, or cure infections caused by the H1N1 influenza virus that have not been proven to be safe and effective for these uses must be carefully evaluated," the statement said.
"Many of these deceptive products are being sold over the Internet via illegitimate web sites. The operators of these web sites take advantage of the public's concerns about H1N1 influenza and their desire to protect themselves and their families," it said.
The two antiviral drugs approved by the FDA for treatment and prophylaxis of the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus are Tamiflu (oseltamivir phosphate) and Relenza (zanamivir)," it added.