greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

feb 15th

has anyone heard about the shipments of bananas from Costa Rica that have been infected with necrotizing fascitis, otherwise know as flesh eating bacteria?

I got an e-mail from a friend of a friend who's mother-in-law is a nurse at the University of Washington Medical Center.

please forward to everyone you love!

Warning: Several shipments of bananas from Costa Rica have been infected with necrotizing fascitis, otherwise known as flesh eating bacteria. Recently this disease has decimated the monkey population in costa rica. we are now just learning that the disease has been able to graft itself to the skin of fruits in the region, most notably the banana which is costa rica's largest import. until this finding, scientists were not sure how the infection was being transmitted. it is advised not to purchase bananas for the next three weeks as this is the period of time for which bananas that have been shipped to the US with the possibility of carrying this disease. if you have eaten a banana in the last 2-3 days and come down with a fever followed by a skin infection seek immediate medical attention!!! the skin infection from necrotizing fascitis is very painful and eats two to three centimeters of flesh per hour. amputation is likely, death is possible...if you are more than an hour from a medical center burning the flesh ahead of the infected area is advised to help slow the spread of the infection. the FDA has been reluctant to issue a country wide warning because of fear of a nationwide panic. they have secretly admitted that they feel upwards of 15,000 Americans will be affected by this but that these are acceptable numbers. please forward this to as many people you care about as possible as we do not feel 15,000 people is an acceptable number.

Manheim Research Institute Cynthia Adams Smith.Agency@Prodigy.net

-- karen thorne (danq91389@aol.com), February 15, 2000


This was posted earlier as an urban myth. Do you have a link to the CDC to back up this rumor? Or FDA?

-- Hokie (Hokie_@hotmail.com), February 15, 2000.

I read about this on the net several weeks ago...then I read some official saying it was just a story...?

-- Bordergirl (Bordergirl@nottooquick.iguess), February 15, 2000.

Somehow, it just seems fitting that a post about flesh eating bananas would have a picture of Bill Gates at the bottom...

-- I'm Here, I'm There (I'm Everywhere@so.beware), February 15, 2000.

upwards of 15,000 Americans will be affected by this

Let's have a sweepstake on how many actually will be. I'll take zero.

-- _ (_@_._), February 15, 2000.

The Attack of Killer Bananas

Now playing on the net

-- When you think people actually do believe this kind of sh.. (bridge@for.sale), February 15, 2000.


-- Postman (ringstwice@lw.ays), February 15, 2000.

of course an official would say it is a hoax. this was forwarded to me by one of my closest friends who is extremely conscienscious and has a friend who is related to cynthia adams. she left her e-mail for you to contact her if you doubt what i am saying. cynthia made herself available for discussion. contact her. out of concern, i was passing this along. about a year ago in chicago we had an incident with the disease. you now have the opportunity to make a few choices. i have her phone number and will confirm what she says.

-- karen thorne (danq91389@aol.com), February 15, 2000.


This is an internet HOAX, please tell your friend also. I posted a thread on this about a week ago, but I can't find it right this minute. I think I titled it "Another Internet Hoax". I'll try to find the article after my morning coffee. =)

-- Dee (T1Colt556@aol.com), February 15, 2000.


Here's the article from PR Newswire:


-- Dee (T1Colt556@aol.com), February 15, 2000.

I checked with friends who own banana plantations in Costa Rica and another who is involved with Dole. They all said that I had made their day by giving them a good belly laff. I am not an expert on bacteria, but this one sounds a bit "over the top". Taz

-- Taz (Tassi123@aol.com), February 15, 2000.


I don't have a clue to whether the information you received is an urban myth or the truth. As I have stated before part of the problem with this country is finding the truth. I do know, however, that necrotizing facitis is a scary reality. My wife is a hyber baric wound care nurse here is Central Florida and her unit has treated four males with the infection in the last two years. Two are still alive after having hyber baric treatments and extensive surgery. Another was saved only to die from something unrelated later. The fourth one died due to complications and age.

They only know the source of the infection in one case. He had scratched himself and later was working in some standing water(swamp). This disease spreads fast and one can literally watch it spread.

I can remember several years ago reading about a man in North Carolina having necrotizing fascitis - in fact it made national news. None of the four cases listed above to my knowledge ever made the local news. I guess they just don't want to scare us.

I will see if my wife's hyber baric unit or any of the other ones have heard reports about the information in your post. If I find anything significant I will post. And ... I know people on this post want to be able to verify everything - which I agree with one hundred percent. Therefore, if anyone wants more details ( I do not know patient's names, etc.) please e-mail me (yes it works).

Bookworm ......still here

-- Bookworm (bookworm_2@hotmail.com), February 15, 2000.

One more,

karen, as you can see the *CDC* has stated this rumor is unfounded.

-- Dee (T1Colt556@aol.com), February 15, 2000.



When you are carrying your bananas to the garbage, watch out for alligators in the sewers. And be careful to watch your drinks when you are out at bars, as people have been known to slip knockout pills into drinks, then take the person to a hotel room and remove their kidneys, leaving them in a bathtub with packed with ice. The reason why they keep the people alive is that if the person is in college and dies, their roommate gets straight A's for that semester.

-- CJS (cjs@noemail.com), February 15, 2000.

Here's a real necrotising fasciitis story.

A fourth patient is considering legal action
against Monklands Hospital after she lost half
of her face and part of her skull when the
horrific bug raged through her.

Electronic Telegraph

-- spider (spider0@usa.net), February 15, 2000.

this rumor is unfounded as my research to the National Necrotizing Fasciitis Foundation has shown. thank you for some good and supportive comments and others that were judgemental. it is my first time to post something on this sight. it is interesting to see how all these minds process and react to one piece of information. i see this as an exploratory site and have benefited from all the varied perspectives. I had no awareness of this disease and have now become educated through the disease website which has pictures and stories of victims, recoveries and deaths. please educate yourself as well. www.nnff.org/contact.htm

-- karen thorne (danq91389@aol.com), February 15, 2000.

Karen, pay no attention to the kiddie trolls. Your concern is not displaced. Washing any fresh fruit well and avoiding unpasteurized packaged/canned/bottled fruits is not a bad idea. The same caution goes for cooking meats well.

"...if you are more than an hour from a medical center burning the flesh ahead of the infected area is advised to help slow the spread of the infection." This kind of statement should alert you that something is wrong with the message. No medical person would ever suggest such a thing. Well...unless they were nuts.



January 28, 2000 Contact: CDC, Division of Media Relations (404) 6393286

False Internet report about necrotizing fasciitis associated with bananas

The bacteria which most commonly cause necrotizing fasciitis frequently live in the human body. The usual route of transmission for these bacteria is from person to person. Sometimes, they can be transmitted in foods, but this would be an unlikely cause for necrotizing fasciitis. FDA and CDC agree that the bacteria cannot survive long on the surface of a banana.

For information about necrotizing fasciitis, check CDC's website at http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dbmd/diseaseinfo/#G. Look under "Group A Streptococcus" which is the most common cause of necrotizing fasciitis.


And BTW, thanks for posting this. We appreciate and you did the right thing seeking more information. Who knows, the next alert by you or someone else may be right on target.

-- mush (discovery@shields.up), February 15, 2000.

I know this guy whose neighbor, a young man named Richard Brunner, was home recovering from having been served a rat in his bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken (which was like deja vu as earlier in the day he found a mouse inside his Coke can).

He had a big fight that night with his new girlfriend Francesca Irina Deeyenda and so anyway, he went to sleep and when he awoke he was in his bathtub and it was full of ice and he was sore all over. When he got out of the tub he realized that HIS KIDNEYS HAD BEEN STOLEN, and he saw a note pinned to his pillow that said "Call 911!"

But he was afraid to use his phone because it was connected to his computer, and there was a virus on his computer that would destroy his hard drive if he opened an e-mail entitled "Join the crew!" He knew it wasn't a hoax because he himself was a computer programmer who was working on software to save us from Armageddon when the year 2000 rolls around. His program will prevent a global disaster in which all the computers get together and distribute the $600 Neiman Marcus cookie recipe under the leadership of Bill Gates. (It's true-I read it all last week in a mass e-mail from BILL GATES HIMSELF, who was also promising me a free Disneyworld vacation and $5,000 if I would forward the e-mail to everyone I know.) The poor man then tried to call 911 from a pay phone to report his missing kidneys, but reaching into the coin-return slot he got jabbed with an HIV-infected needle around which was wrapped a note that said, "Welcome to the world of AIDS."

Luckily, he was only a few blocks from the hospital - the one, actually, where that little boy who is dying of cancer is, the one whose last wish is for everyone in the world to send him an e-mail and the American Cancer Society has agreed to pay him a nickel for every e-mail he receives. I sent him two e-mails and one of them was a bunch of x's and o's in the he shape of an angel (if you get it and forward it to twenty people you will have good luck but ten people you will only have ok luck and if you send it to less than ten people you will have BAD LUCK FOR SEVEN YEARS). So anyway the poor guy tried to drive himself to the hospital, but on the way he noticed another car driving along without his lights on. To be helpful, he flashed his lights at him and was promptly shot as part of a gang initiation.

And it's a little-known fact that the Y1K problem caused the Dark Ages.

-- cin (cinlooo@aol.com), February 15, 2000.

The whole story from CDC at These bacteria are present almost everywhere in our environment. Even before bananas... From the CDC page Group A Streptococcal (GAS) Disease:
What kind of illnesses are caused by group A streptococcal infection?

Infection with GAS can result in a range of symptoms:

No illness

Mild illness (strep throat or a skin infection such as impetigo)

Severe illness (necrotizing faciitis, streptococcal toxic shock syndrome)

Severe, sometimes life-threatening, GAS disease may occur when bacteria get into parts of the body where bacteria usually are not found, such as the blood, muscle, or the lungs. These infections are termed "invasive GAS disease." Two of the most severe, but least common, forms of invasive GAS disease are necrotizing fasciitis and Streptococcal Toxic Shock Syndrome.

Necrotizing fasciitis (occasionally described by the media as "the flesh-eating bacteria") destroys muscles, fat, and skin tissue.

Streptococcal toxic shock syndrome (STSS), causes blood pressure to drop rapidly and organs (e.g., kidney, liver, lungs) to fail. STSS is not the same as the "toxic shock syndrome" frequently associated with tampon usage. About 20% of patients with necrotizing fasciitis and more than half with STSS die. About 10%-15% of patients with other forms of invasive group A streptococcal disease die.

How common is invasive group A streptococcal disease?

About 10,000 cases of invasive GAS disease occurred in the United States in 1998. Of these, about 600 were STSS and 800 were necrotizing fasciitis. In contrast, there are several million cases of strep throat and impetigo each year.

Why does invasive group A streptococcal disease occur?

Invasive GAS infections occur when the bacteria get past the defenses of the person who is infected. This may occur when a person has sores or other breaks in the skin that allow the bacteria to get into the tissue, or when the persons ability to fight off the infection is decreased because of chronic illness or an illness that affects the immune system. Also, some virulent strains of GAS are more likely to cause severe disease than others.

End copy.

-- Tom Carey (tomcarey@mindspring.com), February 15, 2000.

Just another tired, internet hoax. The give-away line to these stories is "please pass this along to everyone...". That should clue you in right there.

The disease itself happens to be real and extremely serious.

-- Irving (irvingf@myremarq.com), February 15, 2000.

We had to change the dressings of one of these patients, for real, in the hospital, and it was awful. As in, hold onto the overhead bars with all our might so we don't faint awful.

It is indeed a hoax clue to see any official medical 'announcement' like "burning the flesh ahead of the infected area is advised" ... NOT !

-- Ashton & Leska in Cascadia (allaha@earthlink.net), February 15, 2000.

I posted earlier about the four cases of necrotizing fascitis here locally. What I forgot to tell you is how the nurses and the Doctors dress when they first start treating the patient. Remember Dustin Hoffman in "Outbreak" - very similar to that. They take it very seriously.

And...... I think when someone hears something like this they should post it. Then then we can research it more and try to find the truth. If it was just a rumor so be it. And if it turns out to be true, then we can act on the information we receive. We all know that Peter Jennings and his buds will not be reporting it and if they do - how much of it is true.

-- Bookworm (bookworm_2@hotmail.com), February 15, 2000.

To me, the important thing here is for everyone to realize that produce imported from other countries is possibly contaminated with germs or pesticides that would not be found on produce grown here in the United States. There are pesticides used in other countries that have been outlawed here. There are endemic germs in other countries which cause illnesses that can be hard to recognize here. They can't possibly test or inspect every piece of fruit; and they don't have time to swab it and grow a culture because of the short shelf life of the fruit. So: buyer beware. Wash that stuff, and wash it well.

-- mommacarestx (nospam@thanks.com), February 15, 2000.

My father-in-law forwarded an e-mail to me about the banana scare. It included a phone number for Manheim Research institute. I actually called Cynthia Adams and the message on her machine says that her name and number were used without permission.She referred all callers to Urbanlegends.com

-- Rosearbor (Rosearbor@hotmail.com), February 15, 2000.


-- Postman (ringstwice@lw.ays), February 15, 2000.

-- Postman (ringstwice@lw.ays), February 16, 2000.

this has been an extremely valuable experience for me to ask this question in this forum. it has been an education and encouragement that there are intellegent caring people willing to engage and put their heads together to explore a situation. thank you.

-- karen thorne (danq91389@aol.com), February 16, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ