The FDA's warning comes on the heels of comments by Nigeria's top
health official, Onyebuchi Chukwu, who reportedly said earlier
Thursday that eight Ebola patients in Lagos, the country's capital,
will receive an experimental treatment called nano-silver.
Erica Jefferson, a spokeswoman for the FDA, said she could not
provide any information about the product referenced by the
The FDA did not specify any products in its warning.
Silver has been used as an antibacterial for centuries. Tiny silver
particles known as nano-silver have controversially been
incorporated into a variety of consumer products such as socks and
bedding to help block odors caused by bacteria and mold.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers nano-silver a
pesticide. Manufacturers of products that contain it must register
them with the agency.
Nano-silver is also sometimes sold online as a dietary supplement
even though Danish researchers found in a recent study that nano-silver
can penetrate and damage cells.
The FDA regulates dietary supplements and said in its statement that
"by law, dietary supplements cannot claim to prevent or cure
The agency said it had received consumer complaints about the Ebola
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"Individuals promoting these unapproved and fraudulent products must
take immediate action to correct or remove these claims or face
potential FDA action," the agency said.
The Ebola outbreak ravaging West Africa has claimed 1,069 lives so
far. Most have been in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Nigeria has
confirmed 10 cases of the disease and four deaths.
(Reporting by Toni Clarke in Washington; Editing by Richard Chang)
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