April 28, 2009

What’s in a Name? That Which We Call a Swine…Rather…H1N1 Virus

Ralph Loglisci

Ralph Loglisci

Food and Health Policy Writer

A good PR move by pork producers and Ag representatives for encouraging U.S. leaders to institute a quick name change for the recent swine flu outbreak. According to the Washington Post, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsak and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced today they’re just going to call it the “2009 H1N1 virus outbreak.” The Post goes on to say:

Vilsack said the change came after Obama officials heard protests from the meat and grain industries. “It is significant, because there are a lot of hardworking families whose livelihood depends on us conveying this message of safety,” said Vilsack, ” … and we want to reinforce the fact that we’re doing everything we possibly can to make sure that our hog industry is sound and safe and to make sure that consumers in this country and around the world know that American products are safe.”

If you go to the National Pork Board’s website you’ll see how its members are pushing to rename the swine flu to the “North American Flu.” It’s also interesting to note an MSNBC is reporting that Israel’s health minster wants the swine flu outbreak renamed to the “Mexican Flu,” in deference to the Jewish and Muslim sensitivities over pork.


  1. Ratification is likely later today for the first example of to person person transference of swine influenza in the UK. It is considered to be a acquaintance of Lain and Dawn Askham, who were the first confirmed victims in the UK and they contacted subsequently after their return from honeymoon in United Mexican States. Initially the man was discharged but afterwards his symptoms kept going he was re examined and was determined to be suffering from Type A flu. Tests are still in progress but are expected to confirm swine flu. This at once takes the aggregate number of swine flu sufferers in GB to 8 -that’s 6 in England 2 in Scotland but so far no deceases.

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