Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Health Update

Dan over at Protein Wisdom alerts us to news that officials are pondering new names for the "Swine Flu" out of concern that such name may harm the pork industry. Despite the fact that everyone in the United States is pretty much already familiar with the term already, I don't understand how renaming it NOW is going to have any effect. So, assume I've already made a reference to f "1984" and move on. The article is actually kind of funny, so here it is:

WASHINGTON, April 28 (Reuters) - What's in a name? U.S. pork producers are finding that the name of the virus spreading from Mexico is affecting their business, prompting U.S. officials to argue for changing the name from swine flu.
At a news briefing, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack took pains to repeatedly refer to the flu as the "H1N1 virus."
"This is not a food-borne illness, virus. It is not correct to refer to it as swine flu because really that's not what this is about," Vilsack said.

Food-born illness? Who ever thought that a flu is food born, or that the term designated it as such? I've never referred to ham as "swine" so the term obviously refers to the animal, not the food.

Israel has already rejected the name swine flu, and opted to call it "Mexico flu." Jewish dietary laws forbid eating pork.

Ok, that just cracks me up. If I have to explain why, shoot me an email.

The Paris-based World Organization for Animal Health also objected to the name, saying the virus contains avian and human components and no pig so far has been found ill with the disease.

Ok. FINALLY an actual reason to rename the flu. How many paragraphs-in did it take?

>And there is growing sentiment in the farm sector to call it the North American virus -- although disease expert Anthony Fauci told a Senate hearing the "swine flu" designation reflected scientific naming protocol.

Can we rename the "Bird Flu" the "Asian flu"? I mean, bird is so general, and unfair to those little avian loverlies who visit my feeders.

For U.S. pork producers the swine flu name has hurt, forcing government officials into the position of stressing that American pork is safe to eat and that other countries should not ban imports.
Pork, soybean and corn prices have fallen in the last two days, "and if this continues, obviously you have significant potential, which is why it's important to get this right," Vilsack said.

Well, people are stupid, so instead of trying to educate them it's best to have the government step-in and save stupid from itself by renaming the virus. Makes perfect sense.

At the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there was also talk of stripping the "swine" from swine flu, which CDC acting director Richard Besser said was leading to the misapprehension that people can catch the disease from pork.
"That's not helpful to pork producers. That's not helpful to people who eat pork. It's not helpful to people who are wondering, how can they get this infection," Besser told a briefing.

Well, we certainly want to be helpful. Monster, over at the PW thread, made a stupendous suggestion, which I heartily endorse.

So, from here on out (at least on this blog), the "Swine Flu" will now be known as ManBirdPig flu.