TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- A City Councilwoman in Trenton was placed in an embarrassing situation this week, after she asked what the city's Health Department was doing about a disease that turned out to be made up.
At a Trenton City Council meeting this past Tuesday – a day after April Fool's Day – Councilwoman Kathy McBride asked about a purported epidemic of "blue waffle disease." She was heard at the meeting in audio captured by the Trentonian newspaper saying she had received a call about the purported disease from a concerned caller.
"The call came in to ask me, what was the City of Trenton doing about an epidemic that's called 'blue waffle disease,' and I did not have a clue of what that was," McBride said. "So I asked the young man to just brief me of what the blue waffle was, and it is a disease that has already claimed 85 lives, and it is a case here in the City of Trenton. And the blue waffle disease is supposed to be a virus that is 10 times greater at this point than the AIDS virus, and so are we to get some information from the Health Department on exactly how many reported cases we have in Trenton."
But as multiple news sources were quick to point out, there was no reason to worry about any epidemic or involve the Health Department, because there is no such thing as "blue waffle disease."
As Snopes.com pointed out, references "blue waffle disease" have been circulating on the Internet for about the past three years. It was purported to be a sexually transmitted disease affecting women, and was often referenced accompanied by a graphic image of the genitals of a supposedly infected woman.
The Women's Health Foundation issued a notice in 2011 debunking the existence of "blue waffle" disease, following a question by a middle school health teacher.
In the notice, University of Chicago gynecology professor Dr. Amy Whitaker emphasized that the "disease" was made up.
"There is no disease known as "blue waffle disease," in the medical world. There is no disease that causes a blue appearance on the external genitalia. I had never heard of this until you wrote to our section…and asked about it," Whitaker wrote.
She added that the imaginary disease was "disturbing," as some had claimed it was a sexually-transmitted disease that could only be transmitted from women to men.
"The open misogyny and blame on women for having an STD made me sick," she wrote.
As for McBride's question about the "disease", a spokesman told the New York Daily News that the councilwoman takes her responsibility to the community very seriously and did not consider the fact that that someone was trying to prank her before she brought the issue up.
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