Advertise in Print | Subscriptions
Published May 06, 2009, 12:00 AM

Letter – It's not swine flu; it's H1N1

As one who researches viral diseases of pigs and subscribes to the Echo Press, the front page of your May 1 edition caught my attention as it contained two articles that used the term “swine flu” to describe cases of human influenza.

To the editor:

As one who researches viral diseases of pigs and subscribes to the Echo Press, the front page of your May 1 edition caught my attention as it contained two articles that used the term “swine flu” to describe cases of human influenza.

Since affected individuals in Mexico and the U.S. had no previous contact with pigs and this variant of the virus still has not been detected in domestic swine herds, President Obama and the World Organization of Animal Health (known by its French acronym OIE) stated that these are not cases of swine flu, but rather H1N1 influenza. Furthermore, this edition contained an article entitled “Swine not appropriate name,” clarifying the H1N1 terminology issue and quoting Senator Klobuchar that “there’s no risk (of contracting H1N1 influenza) from eating pork.” Unfortunately, it was located on Page 3.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to have the three flu-related articles on the front page using consistent and accurate disease nomenclature throughout all stories? The U.S. swine industry has suffered from inaccurate reporting by the national media regarding this issue. Please don’t make the same mistake in West Central Minnesota, where many members of the community are pork producers.

Scott Dee, DVM PhD

Alexandria, MN

(Editor’s note: As several other newspapers have decided, the Echo Press is beginning to refer to the flu as H1N1 in second references in stories. We feel “swine flu” needs to remain in stories for the time being so the public understands that we are not talking about something different.)

Tags: