"American teens are sinking their teeth into each other's necks, literally.
Inspired by the "Twilight" series and heartthrob vampire Edward Cullen's chilly charms, teens are taking their love nips a little too far, MSNBC reports, biting each other -- hard -- and then licking the blood.
Bizarre teen behavior has horrified parents for generations, but health officials and other experts are warning this vampire-inspired Count Dracula fad could have serious consequences.
"These are kids who think they are real vampires," Dr. Orly Avitzur, the medical advisor to Consumers Union, the agency that publishes Consumer Reports magazine, tells MSNBC.
And many teens are getting their blood-sucking fix on the Internet, Avitzur says, noting that sessions spent trolling vampire-related teen websites are on the rise. Groups such as "I drink blood," a category at experienceproject.com, and "I want to be a vampire" at the site 43things.com, are filled with apparent posts from young people with a yearning for hemoglobin.
"Having that thick, warm copper-tasting blood in my mouth is the best thing I can think of!" writes a teenager identified as "GothicGirl10" on MSNBC. "Sometimes my boyfriend lets me feed off him. I let him feed off me as well."
Such talk alarms medical experts, who warn about the dangers of blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis and HIV, as well as the risk of nasty infections. Typically, 10-15 percent of human bite wounds become infected, MSNBC reports.
"If you break the skin, your mouth is pretty dirty," Dr. Thomas Abshire, a pediatric blood and cancer specialist and spokesman for the American Academy of Pediatrics, tells MSNBC. "The human mouth flora is dirtier than a dog or cat's."
Also concerning is the fact that this biting is often done to brand another person, experts say.
"If you think about it, there is such glamorization in those teen vampire movies, they make it seem so sexy and appealing and intriguing," Avitzur says. "It's all mixed up with passion."
Le sigh.... what do you think Twifans... cool or gross and is this really because of Twilight or just the vampire craze in general?