The Museum of Hoaxes
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The Crown Prince Regent of Thulia, 1954
Bizarre pictographs of Emmanuel Domenech, 1860
Can a bar of soap between your sheets ease muscle cramps?
The boy with the golden tooth, 1593
The Great Space Monkey Hoax, 1953
BMW's April Fool's Day Hoaxes
Adolf Hitler Baby Photo Hoax, 1933
Man flies by own lung power, 1934
Sober Sue, the woman who never smiled, 1907
Old-Time Photo Fakery, 1900 to 1919
Squirrel AIDS is a hoax

The Ocean County Health Department of New Jersey recently began receiving numerous phone calls and emails from people worried about the health risk posed by squirrels with AIDS. Many parents asked whether they should allow their children to play outside.

In response, the health department has posted a statement assuring the public that there is no such thing as 'Squirrel AIDS' or 'SQUAIDS'. Nor have there been any confirmed cases of illness transmitted to a human from a squirrel.

No cases of squirrel-to-human disease transmission? I immediately thought, 'What about rabies?' But some googling reveals that although squirrels can theoretically contract rabies, it's very rare for them to do so. This is mostly because squirrels are quick enough to avoid rabid animals. And if they failed to do so, they probably wouldn't survive the encounter long enough to become a carrier. Therefore, according to squirrelnutrition.com, a squirrel bite is "one of the few bites that does not trigger a rabies vaccine protocol" in emergency rooms.

The squirrel AIDS story originated from a site called The Lacey Reporter, which is trying hard to look like a legitimate local news site, but apparently is yet another of these now ubiquitous fake news sites.

Categories: Health/Medicine
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jan 17, 2014
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