A.M.I.:'Swine Flu' should be referred to as 'North American Flu'

by Bryan Salvage
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WASHINGTON — Members of the news media are being urged by the American Meat Institute to cease inaccurate references to swine flu regarding the current North American flu outbreak in Mexico and the U.S. because it is resulting in public confusion, said J. Patrick Boyle, A.M.I. president.

"According to the World Organization for Animal Health (O.I.E.), North American Flu is a more accurate description of the virus that has affected people in North America," Mr. Boyle added.

According to an O.I.E. press release issued April 27, "The virus has not been isolated in animals to date. Therefore, it is not justified to name this disease swine influenza. In the past, many human influenza epidemics with animal origin have been named using their geographic name, e.g. Spanish influenza or Asiatic influenza, thus, it would be logical to call this disease ‘North-American influenza,’" Mr. Boyle pointed out.

Pork is safe and consumers do not need to change their eating habits in the wake of this news, Mr. Boyle stressed. "Public health officials, including those from the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control, have made clear that pork is not a source of influenza. Consumers can continue to enjoy pork with confidence," he added.

To read the full O.I.E. statement, go to www.oie.int/eng/press/en_090427.htm.

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