Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

No Mercy for Swine (flu)

I suppose one should take these things seriously, but given the way the media has spun itself up about the slightest chance of a good pandemic (bird flu, SARS, and now swine flu) one can't help but great the whole thing with a little levity. Of course, I suppose the Sicilians thought it was pretty droll when a few Genoese ships ran aground full of rats and dead sailors back in 1347.

Still I find it charming that the excitement of a new disease has immediately got people arguing about the right name for it:
Some authorities object to calling the flu outbreak "swine flu". U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack expressed concerns that this would lead to the misconception that pork is unsafe for consumption. Israeli deputy health minister Yakov Litzman proposed the name "Mexican flu" because Muslims and Jews consider pork to be unclean, but the Israeli government retracted this proposal after Mexican complaints. The World Organization for Animal Health has proposed the name "North American influenza", while the European Commission uses "novel flu virus". Medical terminology refers to the virus as "Influenza A (H1N1) virus, human". "Flying pig flu" has been suggested as a more accurate description of the virus' genetic makeup, since it has elements of bird, swine, and human flus.

I'm all for "flying pig flu". That would allow me to say, "There'll be pork in the tree tops by lunch time," in my aging Katherine Hepburn voice.


Slick said...

Would that also go to say that all that is not to happen until pigs fly will happen in the near future?

Kiwi Nomad said...

Flying pig virus lol.... I like it and think it should take off!!

I was doing a biological evolution paper several years ago when everyone was worried the last flu might take off. At the time our lecturer said it was looking less and less likely that it would lead to a pandemic, as it had taken too long to develop human-to-human transmission, so was unlikely to. But he said something else might one day soon catch us out of left field....

Anonymous said...

I'm would offer the following names:

pork pestilence
-bacon plague
-porcine pandemic
-oinker illness
-sow sickness
-boar blight
-hog hangover