What to Name Swine Flu
As furor rages over swine flu spread, so do debates about what to name swine flu. The name swine flu is no longer deemed suitable.
We know you cannot catch swine flu from eating pork, yet the name swine flu has some people wondering about the connection – and there is none. Dr. Richard Besser, acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says, "In the public, we've been seeing a fair amount of misconception ... and that's not helpful."
The strain of influenza is a mix of swine, human and bird viruses. Naming swine flu Mexican flu may not be fair, because scientists are still uncertain as to the origin of this new influenza virus. Historically, the flu pandemic of 1918 might not have deserved the original name Spanish flu – it originated in Kansas. The same holds true for swine flu. No one knows the origin of swine flu for certain, so the virus is looking for a new name.
In the meantime, the pig industry is suffering from pork bans. Speculatively, renaming swine flu could provide benefit to a faltering economy, and even improve international relations. Not so oddly, everything important boils down to money and politics - even what to name swine flu.
The National Pork Producers Council, and the National Pork Board, along with the American Meat Institute have all been communicating with the Department of Agriculture to find another name for swine flu.
Laughter is good medicine, and boosts immunity. Debating over what to name swine flu might be laughable.
The question is open. What do we name swine flu? - If viruses could only speak.