Internet is a wonderful thing and can be utilised for so many constructive purposes, however, it is a shame that some people use it to spread lies and rumours.
Qatar isn’t new to this phenomenon either, recently rumours of giant tsunami waves hitting the Gulf were making rounds on the internet via messaging apps such as WhatsApp. As soon as these ridiculous rumours died down, another equally absurd rumour began circulating the cyber space in Qatar, this time the rumour was that ‘bananas are being injected with HIV-tainted blood’, this rumour too is was spread through WhatsApp.
The rumour was spreading with such ferocity that the Ministry of Public Health had to issue a statement to dismiss it as a complete hoax. The Ministry also revealed that these rumours remain in circulation and once they are dismissed and removed from the minds of people they return again to create panic.
The Ministry in its statement reiterated, “Specialists have made it clear that the colour changes may appear in bananas as a result of certain fungal infections or due to lack of some minerals.”
Leading English daily The Peninsula reported that the messages claiming that the bananas have been injected with HIV infected blood are being widely circulated via the internet.
The rumour had gained humongous notoriety that even American broadcast channel CNN reported it.
Experts state that bananas may become red if they are infected with a fungal disease such as Nigrospora and bacterial diseases such as Mokillo can result in similar discoloration. The experts emphasised the fact that these diseases do not pose any threat to humans.
It is also worth mentioning that there is no evidence to support the claim that AIDS can spread through food.
The Ministry cautioned social media users to investigate the veracity of such claims before spreading them further as this leads to unnecessary panic. The Ministry also advised the general public to get in touch with the Ministry with regard to any health and safety queries instead of jumping to conclusions and creating panic.