Phony News Story Leads to 'Squirrel AIDS' Scare

Made-up story causes uproar, but officials say squirrels are okay

The website 'The Lacey Reporter' promoted a story about Squaids, or 'squirrel AIDS' on its website this week (Screenshot:Facebook)
The website 'The Lacey Reporter' promoted a story about Squaids, or 'squirrel AIDS' on its website this week (Screenshot:Facebook)

by Daniel Nee

County health officials are saying loud and clear that Lacey Township's squirrel population is not at risk of a fictitious disease called "Squaids," a portmanteau of the words "squirrel" and "AIDS."

A website claiming to cover Lacey Township news, The Lacey Reporter, featured a story on its website earlier this week claiming a case of the phony squirrel disease was "confirmed" in the township by the Ocean County Health Department. However no such disease exists and there are no issues with Lacey's squirrel population, the health department said.

"County health officials and Lacey Township officials have been in communication since these reports were published," said Daniel Regenye, OCHD Public Health Coordinator, in a statement. "The OCHD has never reported or confirmed any cases of illness transmitted to a human from a squirrel. It is important that we put a stop to these unfounded reports."

The Lacey Reporter website initially promoted its story on its website and linked to it from its Facebook page. But in a later post to Facebook, a person named Charlie Johnson, claiming to be the website's owner, said the story was posted by a "malicious third party" who "hacked" in.

On Wednesday, The Lacey Reporter's website was down and its Facebook page had apparently been removed.

sandy bottom January 16, 2014 at 09:28 AM
they need little squirrel condoms
Mortimer Snerd January 16, 2014 at 04:31 PM
We need a natural enemy to thin the herd of squirrels. These tree rats are a nuisance. ==> Does squirrel AIDS cause numb nuts?


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