Rumors about the origins of the swine flu outbreak are spreading faster than the virus itself, with theories ranging from a group of slaughtered pigs in China to an al-Qaeda conspiracy, Reuters reports. China’s government was actually prompted into making a formal statement by international media reports suggesting that dead pigs in one province spawned the virus.
One US hog operation quickly refuted reports from two Mexican newspapers that a factory farm there was the source. Most fantastic is an Internet report that Mexican drug cartels and al-Qaeda pooled genetic-engineering expertise to manufacture the virus. “The claim of the conspiracy theorists is that this new combination could not have occurred naturally, but this is not true,” said the New Scientist’s biology editor. (Read more swine flu stories.)