FALSE: Novel coronavirus a 'type of rabies'

Claim: The 2019 novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a "type of rabies" that can be contracted by eating bats.

Facebook user Lita Jugo posted on Sunday, January 26: "Sa ngayon po ang coronavirus ay galing sa bat ay isang uri ng rabbies (sic)...na nakakain ng tao (Right now, the coronavirus, which comes from bats, is a type of rabies that people can get through food)."

Jugo went on to say that people in China also eat dogs with rabies, as well as dengue-carrying mosquitoes. "At pag pinag sanib ito dengue at rabbies ito ay nagiging mutan (sic) (And if dengue and rabies are combined, the result is a mutant illness)," she added.

Jugo's post was flagged by Claim Check, Facebook's monitoring tool that identifies potentially dubious posts shared on the platform. As of writing, the post had over 2,300 shares, 636 reactions, and 105 comments.

Rating: FALSE

The facts: In a press briefing on Tuesday, January 28, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III clarified that the 2019 nCoV belongs to the Coronaviridae family of viruses. Meanwhile, rabies is from Rhabdoviridae.

"It is actually close to ridiculous to think that this (2019 nCoV) is now falling within the family of the rhabdovirus. It's not, it's a totally, completely different family of viruses. This is Coronaviridae, this is the family under which 2019 nCoV belongs," Duque said.

Coronaviruses can cause a range of diseases in humans and animals. Other diseases that belong to this family are pneumonia-like SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV. (READ: 'Novel coronavirus' or 2019 nCoV: What we know so far)

The 2019 nCoV first emerged in December 2019 in the city of Wuhan, a major transport hub in China that has a population of 11 million.

Since the 2019 nCoV is a new strain of coronavirus, much is still unknown about it. Studies suggest bats and snakes play a role in the outbreak, but this hasn't been confirmed yet as of posting. – Pauline Macaraeg/Rappler.com

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