Along the lines of Jay’s post on the corruption of language, the name for the flu is mutating faster than the virus itself. First “swine flu.” Then that was insulting to Jews and Muslims, so the World Health Organization decide it should be called the “Mexican flu.” But that, of course, would be the height of racism, so the U.S. government decided to call it the “N1H1 flu.” But now, the Washington Post reports:
A high-ranking CDC scientist said “2009 H1N1″ will not stick in the scientific community because the name could be confused with that of this year’s seasonal flu.
As if to drive the point home, the CDC released fresh guidance for local health authorities on “cases of swine-origin influenza A (H1N1)” — a document that went on to call the virus S-OIV, where the S and O stand for “swine origin.”
So, the “S-OIV flu”? Anyone see other names out there? (real ones, not “clubbed seal flu“). These contortions would be comical if the subject weren’t so serious.