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Strain says H1N1 is best term for flu virus

May 5, 2009

Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M. said that the term “swine flu” is being used incorrectly in the media and other sources to describe the current flu epidemic, and that Louisiana residents have nothing to fear from eating pork.
“The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization have plainly stated that the current H1N1 influenza strain is not spread by food,” Strain said. “The H1N1 influenza virus is spread primarily by human-to human contact – pork is not the problem.”
Strain said that the World Organization for Animal Health is on record saying the respiratory flu should be called the “North American influenza” because of its geographic origin.
“Unfortunately, misuse of the term ‘swine flu’ has caught on in the media, and is having a negative impact on the pork industry,” Strain said. “The Louisiana pork industry is a smaller part of our farm production numbers, only $2.2 million overall, but we don’t want to see it hurt by the incorrect labeling of the H1N1 flu virus.”
Strain said the correct way to refer to the current influenza virus is H1N1.
“I would like to see all media outlets identify the current flu virus as the H1N1 virus,” Strain said. “Louisiana farmers and our value-added pork processors have a difficult time making money without having to worry about a misnamed flu virus upsetting consumers”.
Strain urged the public to use common sense to stay healthy.
“Wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizers and cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze,” Strain said. “In the meantime, boudin, cracklins, stuffed pork chops, sausage and other pork products are safe, and delicious, to eat.”