The Ocean County Health Department and Lacey Township officials have both been receiving calls about reports of an “unreal” disease called “SQUAIDS” identified in squirrels in Lacey Township. The reports were in an uncensored on-line newspaper referencing that they received this information from the Ocean County Health Department. “Neither the Ocean County Health Department nor the Lacey Township contacted any media regarding this issue. In addition, it was quoted that this information was received from the Director of Infectious Disease at Communion Medical Center, which does not exist,” said Daniel Regenye, OCHD Public Health Coordinator.
Lacey Township Mayor Gary Quinn stated, “What is troublesome is that people read these reports, or maybe just scan them, and it causes unnecessary panic. The OCHD and Lacey Township received numerous calls and emails yesterday ranging from questioning this unreal illness, warning us that this information was posted in several “uncensored” websites, and parents concerned about children playing in their yards.”
Regenye continued, “County health officials and Lacey Township officials have been in communication since these reports were published. 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.” Regenye encourages people who are concerned about any illness to only look at reputable, credible websites such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (www.cdc.gov) and the New Jersey Department of Health (www.state.nj.us/health).
Leslie Terjesen, OCHD Public Information Officer, said, “We appreciate when people call or email us something that they read or heard regarding a public health issue that they may be concerned about; in this case, we have no idea why something like this would be posted for the public. The OCHD would never take anything for granted and has done an extensive search on this subject to credible sources and found absolutely nothing regarding this disease. What was found were comic skits related to this unheard-of disease, nor did we find any credible websites that listed any of this information. It concerns us that something like this causes residents to unnecessarily panic about something.”
If you have any questions regarding this issue, please call the Ocean County Health Department at 732-341-9700, ext. 7224.