Sept. 14 2016 12:46 AM

Zika scare health warning used for a department Facebook ‘joke’

The Bath Charter Township Police Department is using its official Facebook page to issue a false warning to the public to be wary of meth because it might be contaminated with the debilitating Zika virus.

Police said the Zika warning is just a joke, one they have couched in an official, sincerely worded and misleading public health warning.

The state health department isn’t amused.

“There is absolutely no connection between meth and the Zika virus,” said Jennifer Eisner, a spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services in a written statement Monday morning.

She noted that the virus is transmitted by mosquitoes, from a pregnant woman to her fetus, and during unprotected sex.

The post in question was put on the department’s Facebook page on Sept. 6, shortly after 6 pm.

“**BREAKING NEWS**,” the post reads. It was accompanied by a red and blue breaking news logo. “We have read reports online about meth possibly containing the Zika virus! We DO NOT want this to happen to you. If you recently bought some meth, you can bring it into the Bath Township Police Department and we can test it for you. Your safety is our #1 priority! Please SHARE so everyone knows.”

Despite promoting the misinformation, Police Chief Scott Rose is defending the post.

“Over 300,000 people viewed this post and not one person has come into the office to have their meth tested,” he wrote in an email response to questions Monday. “I doubt seriously that anyone will. On the other hand I know from talking to many people that they found it funny, shared it to others so they could have a good laugh and that it brought no harm to issues regarding the Zika virus.”

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