Flesh-eating banana bugs 'a hoax'

2011-11-23 11:01
Durban - If you have been concerned about eating bananas following e-mail warnings about flesh-eating bugs found in South Coast bananas, you can relax.

An e-mail doing the rounds, saying that bananas planted in the Uvongo area are contaminated with a flesh-eating bacteria is a hoax, according to the KZN Banana Growers Association (KBGA) and hoax-buster website Snopes.com.

The message, which was circulated on BlackBerry Messenger and e-mail, stated that several deliveries of bananas from Uvongo, KZN, had been infected with necrotising fascitis, otherwise known as flesh-eating bacteria.

Amputation or death

It also stated that scientists have learnt that the disease has been able to graft itself to the skin of fruits in the region and that people who had eaten a banana in the past three days and experienced high body temperatures, should seek medical attention.

If the bacteria came into contact with human flesh, it would slowly eat away through layers of the skin and could result in amputation or death.

It adds that monkeys had come into contact with the bacteria and that the Food and Drug Association was reluctant to issue a warning.

Snopes.com, however, said the e-mail has been doing the rounds since 1999, but the original message claimed that bananas in Costa Rica were contaminated.

Furthermore, the KBGA said it was deception.

Quinton Elliot, of the association, says he received the message via e-mail on Tuesday morning.

“I read the contents, it’s the first I’ve heard of something of this nature and I contacted a number of people - our authorities, banana research - and they say it’s a lot of nonsense. People don’t need to be worried at all about consuming bananas …” he said.

Local farmers also rubbished the notice.

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