Love Bites: A WAFF 48 special report

By Monica Rix - bio | email

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - They're not just hiding in the dark anymore, vampires are everywhere.

There are books, movies, posters, dolls, even cardboard cutouts. But how far are fans taking the craze? Some teens are taking a bite straight from the stories and could be starting a dangerous trend.

[Click here to read more about the 'Twilight Effect']

A new generation of vampires are stirring up a fang frenzy.

We talked to some die-hard "Twilight" fans from Bob Jones High School, or as they like to be called, "Twihards," to find out what the big deal is.

"It's like a fantasy world that you want to escape to, full of romance, adventure and excitement. It's amazing," said one student.

"The characters, you can relate to because they're teenagers, but the actors, they bring this out more because they're your favorite actors. I think a lot of girls just read the books to read about Edward and Jacob," added another.

When it comes down to it, the teens we spoke with say it's movies and TV shows like "Twilight," "True Blood" and the "Vampire Diaries" that really got them hooked.

One student even talked about her parents' reaction to the craze and how they say this fang phenomenon may be borderline obsessive. She says her dad doesn't like her being obsessed with something he sees as a dangerous thing.

Believe it or not, doctors agree, saying some kids are taking this craze too far, pretending to be vampires themselves. They're passing on what they're calling "love bites," a sort of extension of a hickey, but with a vampire-like twist.

[Click here to see video]

Huntsville Hospital Emergency Room Pediatric Director, Dr. Kevin Olsen, says in some cases, these bites are breaking skin, so kids could pass on a little more than affection.

"The biggest risk is not knowing what you're being exposed to. Sometimes, you're not gonna know you've been exposed to infection for years down the road, so it's a high-risk behavior," he said.

Dr. Olsen says up to 15 percent of human bites can cause infection and these love bites can potentially expose you to all kinds of diseases, everything from hepatitis to HIV.

[Click here to read more about human bite infections]

He hasn't seen many severe biting cases come through local emergency rooms, but more and more are popping up across the country and eventually, he expects to see a few.

"Probably the reason they're not showing up to the emergency department is human bites don't cause big gashes where you need to do laceration repairs or sewing up wounds. They're more like puncture wounds. But I think as time goes on, we'll start seeing these bites getting infected," said Dr. Olson.

Teens hope not, especially in their halls.

"I think it's dangerous because you can injure someone and give someone a disease, but it also makes the rest of us look stupid. If you hear on the news that "Twilight" fans are going around biting each other, it makes other "Twilight" fans look crazy too," said a student.

As for their love for all things with fangs, the fans say despite the snags, they're looking forward to even more "Twilight" mania. There are two more films left to debut in the franchise and they say they can't wait to see what happens next.

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