Beware of a Pumpkin Virus Harmful to Humans-Fiction!
Summary of eRumor:
Allegedly from a Ph.D.at the University of Vermont, this warning says that the 2006 pumpkin crop in New England in the U.S. is infected with a virus that results in toxic fumes coming from the pumpkin when it is cut open. The email claims that a woman in Vermont is in a coma because of having passed out and hit her head after being overcome by pumpkin fumes. The virus is allegedly called “squash mosaic Como virus.”
This email is a hoax.
There is no deadly squash virus spreading through New England that affects the health of humans. There is no documented report of anyone being overcome by fumes or in a coma.
There are viruses that affect various plants that are called comoviruses including Squash mosaic comovirus. It’s a scourge to farmers who don’t want their crops infected with it but does not result in the kinds of effects that are described in the eRumor such as toxic fumes. In fact, according to Celeste Welty, an entomologist at Ohio State (the virus is spread by insects) some farmers cash in on the infected pumpkins because the virus can cause unique designs or bumps to appear on the pumpkins, which are attractive to some customers.
Last updated 10/4/06