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SafetyAlerts
February 12, 2000

Rumors About Flesh Eating Bacteria in Costa Rican Bananas are False, CDC Says

Atlanta, GA (SafetyAlerts) - The rumors, circulating on the Internet, concerning a so-called flesh eating bacteria carried by Costa Rican bananas are false, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta.

Although the bacteria can be transmitted in foods, the usual route of transmission is from person to person.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the CDC agree that this type of bacteria could not survive for long on the surface of a banana.  Foodborne transmission of this bacteria would be unlikely to cause necrotizing fasciitis, which is sometimes referred to as a "flesh-eating" condition.

The e-mail also instructs people to burn their own flesh to prevent infection from spreading if they are more than one hour away from a medical facility, and health officials say they would not advise people in this manner.

The chain letter is signed by a group calling itself the "Manheim Research Institute, Center for Disease Control, Atlanta Georgia." There is no institute by that name within CDC.

Group A streptococcus is the most frequent cause necrotizing fasciitis.   Group A streptococcus is a bacterium often found in the throat and on the skin. People may carry group A streptococci in the throat or on the skin and have no symptoms of illness. Most infections are relatively mild illnesses such as "strep throat," or impetigo. On rare occasions, these bacteria can cause other severe and even life-threatening diseases such as necrotizing fasciitis.

Early signs and symptoms of necrotizing fasciitis include fever, severe pain and swelling and redness at the wound site.  Anyone displaying symptoms such as these should consult a physician.

 
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The information contained herein has been obtained from sources that the Company believes to be reliable, however, the Company has not independently verified or confirmed the information and the recipient acknowledges that no representations or warranties are being made in connection with the use of the information.