The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


Health Care

'Swine Flu' Name Sticks at Some Government Agencies

Swine Flu flier being handed out at U.S. borders as of April 28, 2009. (Source: DHS)

Updated 3:38 p.m.
By Garance Franke-Ruta
While the president and secretary of agriculture have been pushing back against calling the flu virus that's causing global outbreaks "swine flu," the message that it's now to be called the 2009 H1N1 flu virus has been slow to penetrate the vast federal bureaucracy.

As of yesterday afternoon, Department of Homeland Security Press Secretary Sarah Kuban told The Post's Spencer S. Hsu, the flier "being provided to airports and airlines in the U.S. and asking them to post at check in counters and gates" and "also being handed out to all passengers arriving from Mexico at all ports of entry. It's being provided in English and Spanish currently" was still calling the disease the swine flu. Click here (PDF) to see the complete flier.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which authored the flier Homeland Security is handing out, also is continuing to call the condition "swine flu," and has not changed its public information page url -- -- or headers at it to reflect any shift in terminology.

A high-ranking CDC scientist who was not authorized to speak publicly about the re-naming said this morning that the name "2009 H1N1" will not stick in the scientific community because it will be confused with this year's routine seasonal flu.

As if to drive the point home, the CDC at 12:30 PM today released "interim guidance for state and local health departments, hospitals, and clinicians in regions with few or no reported cases of swine-origin influenza A (H1N1) (S-OIV)" -- a document that went on to call the virus S-OIV, where the S and O stand for "swine origin."

Posted at 12:26 PM ET on Apr 29, 2009  | Category:  Health Care
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Unbelievable that there is debate about the political correctness of a sickness name.....

According to this site, the Maldives is actually lobbying to "sponsor the name" to attract tourism:

Posted by: whatismyname | April 30, 2009 11:50 AM

I agree the media are self promoting in their panic and hype creating tactics, but lives of real people will be saved by being proactive on this issue. I'm a pediatric health care worker and a parent. I will be present a the scene when the results of our response, or lack thereof, are made manifest. Seeing people die, when they didn't have to, is difficult to say the least.

Posted by: rooster54 | April 30, 2009 10:26 AM

Public health officials and the media should be strung up over this. Why? Because ORDINARY seasonal flu kills approximately 36,000 people per year in the U.S. alone. THIRTY-SIX THOUSAND, in just the U.S. How many have died thus far from this so-called "pandemic?" Less than 200, WORLDWIDE. Yet the CDC and government officials have pressed the panic button, conducting this disinformation campaign that has done nothing more than sow panic.

This is nothing short of unbelievable. Yet it shows the immense power media outlets have for spreading panic, and the lengths that organizations such as the CDC will go to make themselves seem "relevant" to the public.

Posted by: singlemalt | April 29, 2009 8:16 PM

We need to get down to causes and conditions if we are serious about preventing these illnesses:

Posted by: rooster54 | April 29, 2009 7:21 PM

Posted by: rooster54 | April 29, 2009 7:17 PM

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