Bird flu fears lead to rise in related spam e-mail

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Dec. 19, 2005

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More than 1 million spam e-mail attacks related to avian influenza were blocked during November by anti-junk e-mail service SpamStopsHere, according to a statement issued by the company that administers it, Greenview Data, in Ann Arbor, Mich. This development is believed to be directly linked to the increasing amount of worry about the disease.

"We expect that as media coverage and public concern increases, the bird flu spam problem will get much worse before it gets better," said Mark Adam, SpamStopsHere's technical support director.

The e-mails generally fall into two categories. One includes virus-infected attachments that are purported to contain treatment and prevention information but actually could cause computers to crash or relay spam to others. The second category includes e-mails linking to Web sites claiming to sell antiviral medications.

Public health agencies and medical societies, including the AMA, have urged against stockpiling these drugs.

"The risk of receiving counterfeit, spoiled or even toxic medication is extremely high," said SpamStopsHere CEO Ted Green. "Tamiflu, along with all other prescription drugs, should only be prescribed by licensed physicians and purchased from trusted and reputable sources."

Note: This item originally appeared at

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