Swine Flu gets a Name Change

from iwona_kellie, flickr

from iwona_kellie, flickr

Has anyone else noticed that the media has made a conscious effort to refer to this sickness as N1H1 rather than its nickname “Swine Flu?” Of course, I understand that this is in response to what’s been happening with pigs/pork. Egypt has been killing their pigs, Russia has banned any importation of pork, and pork sales have dropped even though you’re not supposed to be able to contract N1H1 from eating pork. Heart disease, yes. Swine flu, not so much.

Food groups always carry a fair amount of weight when they want something done. Remember Oprah and the whole mad cow thing? In this case, though, I actually kinda support the move. When innocent pigs are being killed for the mere association of a name, well, maybe creating a distance between a nickname and the reality of the disease is necessary. And if you can create that distance by calling it by its scientific name, then I think that’s acceptable. It’s not that the name is changing to some commercial marketing ploy.

Bottom line, if innocent and healthy pigs are saved in this move, then I find it a comfortable and ethically reasonable shift.

Oh, and another somewhat misconception I find interesting: there’s all this talk about Mexico and California and Texas and the Southwest in general; however, the state with the highest confirmed cases (as of May 2nd), according to the CDC, is New York. Seriously, look into it.

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One thought on “Swine Flu gets a Name Change

  1. This is a nice catch, Kaitlin. Looking back through my email, the change is perfectly perceptible: the “OSU Emergency Management” emails switched their subject headings from “Swine Flu” to “H1N1 Influenza” in just one week.

    It reminds me of another time a global term that became rapidly entrenched tried to be switched. Remember when the government and financial institutions pressured media outlets to swap “bailout” for “recovery package”? The valiant attempt never took hold and bailout remains the default term. Sorry for that pun on default. I should go now.

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