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Friday, May 22, 2009

Just What You Need Before a Weekend of Rib-Eating: The Latest in Swine Flu Conspiracy News

Posted By on Fri, May 22, 2009 at 4:31 PM

I,MAX VIA FLICKR
  • i,max via Flickr
Grist has a nicely conspiratorial analysis (*cue X-Files music*) of the current investigations into the origin of the swine flu epidemic. Among the highlights:

The World Health Organization helped author a paper for Science that pinpointed the likely source of the swine flu as La Gloria, a picturesque pig-farming village in the Veracruz Mountains. But the World Health Organization isn't doing any research in La Gloria itself. Instead, the town is filling up with scientists funded by a consortium of biotech and pharmaceutical companies. They have stated their intention to do a rigorous investigation of backyard pig-farming operations. As opposed to, say, the enormous pig farms at the village's perimeter. Where hundreds of pigs are kept all squished in together and fed -- oh! -- biotech corn. And low-dose antibiotics. The kind that might, I don't know, create an antibiotic-resistant flu, perhaps? Is someone maybe trying to blame an epidemic on poor, small-time pig farmers? Scandal!

Pork giant Smithfield has kindly offered the information that its hogs recently tested negative for swine flu. This gesture is slightly marred by the fact that Smithfield itself selected the samples that would be tested.

The official story so far is that only one person in La Gloria, a 5-year-old boy, came down with swine flu. Some 1,800 other people in the 3,000-person village also got violently ill at exactly the same time, but that was just flu flu, not swine flu. Honest.

It's Friday -- go out and wow your happy hour companions with your new epidemiological gossip!

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Heather Smith

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