What is the SARS conspiracy theory?

By: HowStuffWorks.com Contributors

In 2003, the world was faced with a serious and highly contagious virus, which originated in Asia. The World Health Organization identified severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) as a global threat. This particular virus was exceptionally deadly, killing nearly one in 10 infected people. By 2004, SARS infected more than 8,000 people worldwide, with the majority of cases in China, Singapore and Canada. Many people speculated that the SARS virus was not a simple viral epidemic, but rather an intentional attack on certain people and on the world at large.

Some believe that the SARS virus was man-made. In particular, many believe that SARS was created for biological warfare and that the United States intentionally attacked China with the virus. The United States views China as the next world superpower due to its economic power and as a serious threat to American safety. It also appears suspicious to some that the U.S. did not suffer from major losses as a result of the SARS outbreak. Indeed, by 2003, the United States had only 27 cases of SARS and no reported deaths. This is in stark contrast to its neighbor to the north. In 2003, Canada reported 251 cases of SARS, with 43 fatalities.


Some also believe that the SARS outbreak was intentional, to prepare the world for an eventual biological war that will destroy half of the world's population. There are also less popular and seemingly irrational conspiracy theories. For example, some believe the SARS outbreak was propagated by the world's elite to gain control of the population at large. Finally, some argue that SARS was invented to increase the profits of pharmaceutical, medical, and security companies around the world.