Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Calling it What it Is: The Mexico City Flu

The New York Times has an interesting article out today about the naming of this latest deadly flu strain--a topic that has bugged me (no pun intended) for several days now. First, it should not be named "swine flu" since it is a hybrid strain composed of 2 parts swine flu, 1 part avian flu, and 1 part human flu. It is also unfair to pork producers who will bear the brunt of the stigma.

As the article explains, pandemic influenza are usually named after the region or country where they were first identified. The naming of such calamities can be quite controversial and politically sensitive.

According to the NYT: "The World Organization for Animal Health, which handles veterinary issues around the world, issued a statement late Monday suggesting that the new disease should be labeled 'North American influenza,' in keeping with a long medical tradition of naming influenza pandemics for the regions where they were first identified. This has included the Spanish flu of 1918 to 1919, the Asian flu of 1957 to 1958 and the Hong Kong flu of 1967 to 1968. The debate is likely to continue as scientists and health authorities try to trace the disease. While all signs now point to Mexico as the epicenter, the genetic material in the virus there was a swine influenza virus of Eurasian origin. And influenza viruses tend to emerge from Asia....But flu specialists in Asia said that the new virus probably did not make the jump from animals to people in Asia."

I would be okay with naming it the North American Flu but ground zero for this particular flu is Mexico City. So, let's call it what it is, The Mexico City Flu.


Kyle said...

I know this is off topic, but nice work on 90.3 this morning.

Anonymous said...

u should not panic

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