In April 2013, New Jersey city councilperson Kathy McBride became the object of some derision when, according to the Trentonian, she reported at a city council meeting that she had received an “alarming call” from a constituent who wanted to know “what was the City of Trenton doing about an epidemic that’s called the Blue Waffle Disease?” McBride was mocked for taking the issue seriously and not recognizing that she had apparently been taken in by an April Fool’s prank.
References to “Blue Waffle Disease” hit the Internet around March 2010 when an image (disturbing image warning) of scabbed, blue-tinted labia was circulated along with the claim that the image pictured a type of vaginal infection resulting from a sexually transmitted disease (a condition which was supposedly common enough that it had been identified and given the slang name “blue waffle disease”):
There is a rumor going around about a new STD called “Blue Waffle.”
“A ‘waffle’ is a slang term for a vagina. A ‘blue waffle’ is a slang term for a severe vaginal infection. It’s basically a slang term for an extremely nasty or severe vaginal infection/STD on the vagina. The infection could cause lesions on the outside of the vagina, as well as bruising, which causes it to look blue in color.”
Much discussion ensured about whether the photograph was real or a digital manipulation, and, if the former, whether it really pictured an infection (rather than, say, bruising resulting from rape or some other form of trauma).
Whatever the origins of the photo, “blue waffle disease” is a bit of fiction and not a known symptom or result of any type of STD-related infection. As reported in the Women’s Health Foundation blog, Dr. Amy Whitaker, an Assistant Professor of Obstetrics/Gynecology at the University of Chicago Hospital, said of the widely circulated “blue waffles” image that:
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. The common belief among medical professionals with whom I have spoken or e-mailed about this is that it is a hoax; the picture and “fake” disease used to lure people into some web site.