JAN JOSE, CA - Hiro Koichi, 13, of San Jose, California was hospitalized today after suffering an epileptic seizure.
Koichi, a regular contributor to his favorite spoof website, was checking on the results of a Michael Jackson story he'd written late the previous evening when he suddenly dropped to the floor, quivering uncontrollably.
"He was watching his live ticker," says the little Hiro's mother, who was watching in the doorway when Koichi fell. "It's like he was mesmerized. Then, he just lost it."
She noted that, after paramedics had rushed Koichi to the hospital, she took a look at the screen and found it incredibly difficult to avert her gaze as well. "It just kept printing, 'Someone is reading your spoof story 'Michael's Hyperbaric Chamber Fails!' over and over again. It was quite mesmerizing."
No one knows for certain how many people have had seizures induced visually by flashing lights and repetitive patterns while playing video games, surfing the Internet, or watching live spoof tickers, but epileptologists say they have already noticed an increase in the number of such incidents within the last 24 hours.
A report by the Epilepsy Task Force on Photosensitivity found that children and young adults are especially susceptible to the phenomenon, and has issued a warning to everyone, especially those between 7 and 19 years of age, to be aware of the risks associated with watching your Michael Jackson story go viral.
The World Health Organization began implementing precautionary measures this morning, hoping to avoid an epileptic epidemic like the one earlier this year that hospitalized hundreds of spoof writers who had recently published stories about Jade Goody.