One Man Died in Arizona and Multiple Reports of Poisonings While Self-Medicating with Chloroquine against Coronavirus

A man thought aquarium cleaner with the same name as the anti-coronavirus drug chloroquine would prevent coronavirus. It killed him.

Man Fatally Poisons Himself While Self-Medicating for Coronavirus ...

In Maricopa County, Arizona, a couple in their 60s watched politicians and news anchors on TV tout chloroquine, an anti-malaria drug that has shown the ability to disrupt some viruses but that has not yet been proved effective against the novel coronavirus.

That pharmaceutical name matched the label on a bottle of chemicals they used to clean their koi pond, NBC News reported. The fish tank solvent that treats aquatic parasites contains the same active ingredient as the drug, but in a different form that can poison people.

“I saw it sitting on the back shelf and thought, ‘Hey, isn’t that the stuff they’re talking about on TV?’ ” the wife, who was not named, told the network. “We were afraid of getting sick.”

The couple reportedly poured some of the fish tank cleaning chemical, chloroquine phosphate, into soda and drank it. They hoped it would stave off a coronavirus infection.

“Within thirty minutes of ingestion, the couple experienced immediate effects” that sent them to the emergency room, a Banner Health spokeswoman said in a statement Monday. They felt dizzy and started vomiting. The husband died at the hospital, and the wife is under critical care, according to the statement.

“Given the uncertainty around COVID-19, we understand that people are trying to find new ways to prevent or treat this virus, but self-medicating is not the way to do so,” Daniel Brooks, Banner Poison and Drug Information Center medical director, said in the hospital’s statement. “The last thing that we want right now is to inundate our emergency departments with patients who believe they found a vague and risky solution that could potentially jeopardize their health.”

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2020/03/24/coronavirus-chloroquine-poisoning-death/


Chloroquine isn’t a miracle cure. A tiny amount can poison you.

Confirmation bias is the central conundrum in “fake news.” People with a lot of followers can say just about anything, and if they hit on a general bias in people’s desires, they’re believed. The one true desire unifying us all right now is for this coronavirus madness to end.

So when a lawyer and a blockchain investor recently mused on Twitter that the anti-malaria drug chloroquine was a cure for covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, they hit the jackpot in confirmation bias: They made the right people believe that a magic-bullet drug will rescue us. Elon Musk tweeted about it. The lawyer was invited on Fox News to talk about it. Then our Fox News-watching president amplified it in a news briefing and on Twitter, reaching millions and all major news outlets.

And now, as public health experts try to keep all 330 million Americans focused on social distancing, hand-washing and local health authorities’ region-specific instructions (so important as the infection curves unfold state by state), they also have to mitigate the damage done by false hope in a magic-bullet medication.

Already, Nigeria has multiple reports of poisonings of people self-medicating with chloroquine against covid-19. One man died Monday in Arizona after he and his wife ingested a chemical made of chloroquine phosphate — used to kill parasites on their pet fish — thinking they were protecting themselves from covid-19. His wife survived after vomiting up the chemical.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2020/03/25/chloroquine-coronavirus-toxic-malaria/

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