Israeli official: Swine flu name offensive

Tuesday, April 28, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

JERUSALEM — The outbreak of swine flu should be renamed "Mexican" influenza in deference to Muslim and Jewish sensitivities over pork, said an Israeli health official Monday.

Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman said the reference to pigs is offensive to both religions and "we should call this Mexican flu and not swine flu," he told a news conference at a hospital in central Israel.

Both Judaism and Islam consider pigs unclean and forbid the eating of pork products.

Scientists are unsure where the new swine flu virus originally emerged, though it was identified first in the United States. They say there is nothing about the virus that makes it "Mexican" and worry such a label would be stigmatizing.

Two Israelis who recently visited Mexico have been hospitalized with symptoms of the flu. Health authorities have not yet confirmed whether they actually have the virus.

Laboratories in the U.S. and Canada have confirmed that of the samples tested so far, the swine flu virus in Mexico and U.S. appear to be the same.

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danny smith April 28, 2009 | 8:42 a.m.

what a bunch of cry babies, get over yourself. I didn't know a word could also make you so unclean. This is one of those moments when religion is way to over the top. The next time anybody needs to name something, they better make sure that everyone and every religion is ok with it, so nobody gets their itsy bitsy feeling hurt.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro April 28, 2009 | 9:32 a.m.

("Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman said the reference to pigs is offensive...")

--Shouldn't the pigs have a say in this as well?
Also, I've seen Mr. Litzman on television.
The funniest thing is that he doesn't even look flu-ish.
Porky's Revenge?

(Report Comment)
Blake Segafredo April 28, 2009 | 11:59 a.m.

Let's take something that describes the animal that the sickness originated with and instead rename it to stereotype and ostracize an entire country, that makes sense.

Israel, its not all about you!

(Report Comment)

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