Moran asks news networks to stop saying ‘swine flu’

Rep. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., is asking major news networks to stop referring to the H1N1 virus as “swine flu,” saying it is harming the pork industry and farm families across Kansas and the nation.

In the letter, Moran says that the term “swine flu” confuses consumers and could lead them to believe pork is unsafe to eat — despite statements by federal agricultural and health agencies calling it a myth.

“But every time the nightly news or a morning paper references the H1N1 virus as ‘swine flu’ it reinforces the false belief that pork is unsafe,” Moran wrote.

The congressman, whose district includes most of western and north-central Kansas, said the House Agriculture Committee was told H1N1 led to nearly $1.3 billion in lost revenue for the U.S. pork industry in the last six months.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control on its Web site
still lists references to the “swine flu” and explains why H1N1 is sometimes referred to as that.

Originally laboratory testing showed genes in the new virus were similar to influenza viruses that normally occur in North American pigs.

“But further study has shown that this new virus is very different from what normally circulates in North American pigs. It has two genes from flu viruses that normally circulate in pigs in Europe and Asia and bird (avian) genes and human genes,” according to the CDC.

The CDC also says people cannot get infected with H1N1 by eating pork.