Herpes virus in ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’

'What can we do that has never been done before?' our colleague Stijn Van de Voorde must have thought when he struggled to fill his programme. The programme maker then instructed two university professors to examine the ten most borrowed books at the Antwerp lending library. The findings were pretty surprising.

The experts are active in the fields of bacteriology and toxicology. Their findings are revealing.

All ten books including Dimitri Verhulst's Flemish bestseller 'De helaasheid der dingen' and Jommeke comic strips tested positive for cocaine.

Toxicologist Prof Jan Tytgat of the Catholic University of Leuven: "The levels found won't have a pharmacological effect. Your consciousness or behaviour won't change as a result of reading the tomes."

However, people tested after reading the book would test positive for cocaine.

Prof Jan Tytgat: "Today's testing methods are so sensitive that traces of the drug originating from a contaminated book will be found in your hair, blood and urine."

Two books E.L. James 'Fifty Shades of Grey' and Pieter Aspe's 'Tango' showed traces of the herpes virus. The virus causes cold sores and may be transmitted via sexual activity.

Readers should not be alarmed. Concentrations of the virus found were so low that they do not pose a danger to our health.

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