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Special CDC Web site debunks Internet's medical urban legends
Medical hoaxes and urban legends are becoming so common on the Internet that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) created a special Web site to counter them.
In early April the site carried warnings about 9 rumours and hoaxes, including one involving Internet "news" that bananas from Costa Rica cause necrotizing fasciitis.
CDC spokesperson John Burckhardt says the hoax/rumours page was launched 2 years ago and is updated any time "there is an appreciable expression of public interest or concern regarding a topic about which the CDC has a responsibility to inform."
The most recent postings point out that HIV cannot be transmitted through contact with the material used to make a new feminine sanitary pad and that a child in Texas did not die of a heroin overdose after being stuck by a used needle found in a play area.
Burckhardt says the page focuses on Internet hoaxes, but this "also has the effect of covering media such as newspapers, since they quickly move information to the Internet." Patrick Sullivan, CMAJ