WASHINGTON — "2009 H1N1 Flu" is now the name of the new hybrid flu virus hitting countries around the world. The decision to change the name of the virus ─ first referred to as swine flu and then later North American flu ─ was announced by Kathleen Sebelius, Health and Human Services Secretary, Richard Besser, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acting chief, and was iterated by other government officials during a briefing.
"We're calling it the 2009 H1N1 flu. That's now the name for it," Mr. Besser said. He went on to explain the disease was a new hybrid flu and people could not catch the virus from eating pork. The name change is intended to address a common misperception that the illness was in pigs or pork, which has not been shown to be true.
Although the disease has not been found in swine and has only been found to spread from human-to-human contact, the U.S. has lost 10 of its pork export markets, according to the American Meat Institute. Based on 2008 numbers, A.M.I. estimates the ban on pork products will cost the U.S. pork industry $710 million annually, or roughly $13.6 million per week in exports of pork and pork products, if trade is not restored.