MEXICO CITY - With the eyes of the world fixed on Mexico in light of the recent swine flu outbreak, experts have managed to trace the sometimes deadly virus back to the chupacabra.
Once considered a beast of folklore or an urban legend of sorts, the animal whose name literally means "goat sucker" in Spanish, has often been blamed for mysterious deaths of farm animals, most often goats, turkeys, chickens, and sometimes swine. In all cases, witnesses claim blood of the victimized livestock to have been drained through puncture wounds.
Until now, scientists had usually viewed most of these claims as exaggerated, perhaps even superstitions. They attributed most sightings of the chupacabra to coyotes with extreme demodetic or sarcoptic mange, or perhaps some sort of strange stray hairless breed of dog.
Ramon Payaso of El Campamento, a town about 20 miles east of Mexico City, boasts the most recent sighting of the beast 3 weeks ago. He claims 3 of his pigs were exsanguinated. "I think I am hearing squealing, so then I go to the ventana to look," he recalls. "I see something in the shadows, like a blue dog with no hair, but when I am going outside, hijo de la chingada! It left muy rapido!!"
Senor Payaso says he found 3 of his best pigs dead immediately thereafter, all of them with 3 puncture wounds in the chest from which their blood had been completely drained. Unfortunately, while inspecting the porcine cadavers, he inadvertently exposed himself to the swine flu virus and was soon running a fever.
Analysis of the remains has indicated that "swine flu" may in fact be a misnomer, as the virus is now believed to have originated in the chupacabra itself. Perhaps this should come as no surprise, as sightings of the creature have occured in many of the areas first affected by the sometimes deadly virus.
This is good news, as it turns out. Scientists say that, once the current outbreak is under control, we know exactly what to look for and what steps to take in order to avoid another.