Name game: 'Swine flu' or 'H1N1 flu'
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30 April 2009
New Delhi, India
India is now faced with a serious dilemma – should the latest pandemic threat be called a “Swine flu” or a “Mexican flu?”
On Wednesday, the US embassy in Delhi informed the health ministry that the reputed Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta has decided to abandon the term “swine flu” and refer to the present outbreak as the “H1N1 Flu” from now on.
The reason – nobody knows whether the present virus originated from pigs and calling it “Swine Flu” was confusing people into thinking they could get infected by eating pig products.
Dr Richard Besser, acting director of CDC, had earlier said, “We’re discussing whether there’s a better way to describe this? In the public, we’ve been seeing a fair amount of misconception and that’s not helpful.”
The issue has also become a bone of contention between the world’s highest animal health body – the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) – and the highest organisation for human health – the World Health Organisation.