Hundreds of parents in Nairobi have inundated their primary and pre-primary schools with inquiries following the circulation of a warning about drug-laden cartoon-character stick-on transfers - and it may be a sick hoax.
The single-sheet circular which has caused the anxiety is a computer laserprint headed IMPORTANT - Warning to parents.
It continues: A form of tattoo called Blue Star is being sold to schoolchildren. It is a piece of paper containing a blue star. They are the size of a pencil eraser and each star is soaked with LSD.
The drug is absorbed through the skin simply by handling the paper. They are also bright coloured pictures of the following - Superman, Mickey Mouse, Clowns, Disney Characters, Bart Simpson, Butterflies.
These are laced with drugs!!!
If your child gets any of the above DO NOT handle them. These are known to react quickly and some are laced with strychnine.
Symptoms - Hallucinations, severe vomiting, uncontrollable laughing, mood changes, change in body temperature.
Please feel free to reproduce this article and distribute it within your community and workplace. Get word out about this danger to our children.
From: J. O'Donneil, Danbury Hospital Outpatient Chemical Dependency Treatment Service.
Please copy and post at your work, give to friend, send a copy to your local schools, give to friends. This is very dangerous - young lives have already been taken.
(Editor: The above is an exact transcription of the notice received, including unusual English usage and repetition.)
Braeburn Primary Headmaster Ralph Diaper told The Chronicle: I have been inundated with inquiries from anxious parents and naturally made some inquiries.
It does not make sense. As far as I can understand, LSD cannot be absorbed through the skin, although it is sometimes diluted with strycchnine.
I made inquiries at Gertrudes Garden Children's Hospital and they knew nothing about it.
In assembly I told the children that it was a hoax.
Mr. Diaper also said that as far as he could gather, Danbury Hospital did not exist in England.
The whole thing just does not make sense.
Brookhouse Junior School Headmistress Mrs. Martin said: Someone brought me a copy of this circular and just to be safe I have sent a copy to our 100 parents.
But it sounds wierd and I suspect it is some form of nasty scare-mongering.
The Banda School was also inundated with inquiries. It played safe by posting a copy on the school notice board.
Headmaster Peter Bush told The Chronicle: The sticker craze is not rife in the school but it seemed only right to make parents aware of a potential danger area.
Two of the many rumours abounding are that two children had died in convulsions from the transfers in Westlands recently and that the Sarit Centre had circularised its shops to ban the sale of transfers.
The Chronicle found both to be false. No record of such deaths was held by police sources and the Sarit Centre has denied issuing any such circulars.
However, Kenya's Ministry of Health recently issued a warning in the national Press about the possibility of drug-contaminated imported sweets and urged the public to buy only Kenya-made sweets.
The Chronicle was unable to discover the justification for the warning.
The only publicised cases of contaminated sweets are those involving long-distance bus travellers.
There have been instances in which people have accepted sweets from fellow-passengers and awakened either in hospital or well past their destination, and in every case robbed of their baggage.