The Klingerman Virus
Now more than ever, knowledge is power -- but misinformation
is alarmist and weakening. While the Internet is a phenomenal tool for facilitating
the exchange of information, it has increasingly become a vehicle for the spread
of falsehoods -- many of which are health scares.† A recent example is the widely
circulated email about people who have been infected with a live virus after
opening gift packages delivered to them in the mail. According to the e-mail
message, a number of people became ill with a viral infection after handling
a sponge contained in a package marked, "A gift for you from the Klingerman
Foundation."†† Allegedly, this virus has been called the "Klingerman Virus".†
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions (CDC), this e-mail
is a hoax.† The CDC website asserts that "there is no Klingerman virus and the
information in the e-mail notice is untrue. If you receive an e-mail message
about a Klingerman virus, please do not forward it to others."
The CDC goes on to say that although the e-mail message is
a hoax, if you are concerned about the contents of any package you receive in
the mail, do not open it.† Instead, leave it outside of your home or office
and contact your local post office. It is a criminal offense to send potentially
hazardous agents through the mail for the purpose of causing harm to human health.†
If such an incident occurs, dial 911 to notify local law enforcement authorities,
the local FBI field office, and local and state public health authorities.
This warning to report suspicious packages or letters is especially important now that there have been cases of anthrax recently reported in Florida, New York, and Las Vegas. If you do open a letter containing a white powder, set it down carefully, put the letter and its contents in a zip-lock bag or other container, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water, and contact local law inforcement officials immediately.
How do you know if an e-mail you receive about a health threat
is true or false?† Often, these e-mails seem convincing and are sent to you
from someone you know and trust.† A good rule of thumb is that if you don't
know if it's really true, don't pass it on.† A quick search on any Internet
search engine can generally lead to more information.† And if it's a health-related
concern, send it to webmaster@DrDonnica.com
and we will look into it.
Created: 9/26/2001  - Donnica Moore, M.D.
Reviewed: 10/13/2001  -