LONDON - If you're a scientist and have just identified a dangerous new disease in Peru originating from pigs then please don't call it paralytic Peruvian pig pox.
Disease names like swine flu or Rift Valley fever risk stigmatizing communities and damaging economies, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Friday as it called for a rethink on naming new human diseases.
The Obama administration scored its first major foreign policy victory last week when U.S. trade officials announced from Hangzhou, China, that China intends to re-open its markets to U.S. pork and live swine.
Even if nobody gets sick with H1N1 flu at Jim Gibbens’ Hexagon Farms near Cando, N.D., the virus already has taken a serious toll there.
The villain isn’t the virus itself, actually, but the name by which it commonly goes:
ST. PAUL – “Swine flu” made an already-sick pork industry even sicker.
And while the rest of the world awaits a new, and potentially much harsher, round of what officially is known as H1N1 influenza this fall, pork producers fear that renewed talk of the flu will make a money-losing situation worse.
It means North Dakota no longer will have to send its swine flu samples to a federal laboratory in Atlanta for confirmation. A state Health Department official says that will cut nearly two weeks off the turnaround time for test results.
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