Tide with Anthrax stories are the latest riff on old wives tale

Anthrax

A person is more likely to run into Anthrax, the heavy metal band, than into Tide samples with anthrax in them. Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Consumers beware, because according to a chain email and text message, samples of Tide have anthrax with them. The story goes that terrorists have infused samples of the laundry detergent with anthrax, a deadly disease spreading spore. The anthrax in Tide hoax is just a new take on an old wives tale.

Whoever believes Tide with anthrax rumors should be in a madhouse

Chain e-mails, text messages and letters can fool the gullible, like the currently circulating one about Tide samples with anthrax in them. The idea is that samples of Tide laundry detergent are showing up at people’s houses through the mail, loaded with powder or traces of anthrax, a toxic spore which spreads an infectious bacteria that can cause fatal illnesses, especially if inhaled. The inhaling of said tainted product leads to the deaths of several people, and in chain e-mails, it’s almost always women. It’s an old wives tale, according to popular myth busting website, Snopes.com. This particular urban legend began as drug or toxin tainted perfume. The “anthrax in Tide” hoax is just a new version of the same old song and dance.

A bit about anthrax

Anthrax is the name of symptoms of an infection, caused by a bacterium, bacillus anthracis. The bacteria produces spores, which is what starts spreading the disease. Sores can develop, along with cold and flu like symptoms, which can be fatal if untreated. The disease is very dangerous, and if treatment is not administered early enough, death is the usual result. The treatment for anthrax is antibiotics. During the 2001 anthrax attacks, letters were mailed to various people containing a white powder containing anthrax spores. Five died, and over a dozen were sickened.

Common fear

An anthrax attack is not something to be taken lightly, but a chain email is. Chain letters, emails, and text messages of this sort try to manipulate common phobias, fears, and so forth. The fear of being poisoned or of a terrorist attack after the events in 2001 would certainly fall into that category, and that’s why these rumors spread so easily. Something using the blueprint of the anthrax in Tide hoax will probably surface again in the future.

Sources

Snopes

Web MD on Anthrax

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