The influenza strain that is causing concern around the world should not be called “swine flu” as it also contains avian and human components, and no pig has been found ill with this virus so far, The Office of International Epizootics (OIE) said today.
A more logical name for the new flu would be “North American influenza,” a name based on its geographic origin, just like the Spanish influenza, a human flu pandemic with animal origin that killed more than 50 million people in 1918-1919.
“The virus has not been isolated in animals to date. Therefore, it is not justified to name this disease swine influenza,” the Paris-based group said in a statement.
So far this latest incident has resulted in the deaths of 103 people in Mexico, while much milder infections have been reported in the United States and Canada. The influenza strain has also been reported as far away as Europe, Israel and New Zealand.
The OIE warned that if the virus was shown to cause disease in animals, virus circulation could worsen the regional and global situation for global health.
Stocks, oil and other commodity markets fell Monday as a result of fears of a global flu pandemic.
A University of Illinois Extension marketing specialist said Monday that swine flu has already had an impact on U.S. crop markets.
“In the first trading session following the announcement of incidences of swine flu in Mexico and the United States, corn, soybean and wheat futures declined sharply,” commented Darrel Good.“Market participants reportedly are concerned that the threat of swine flu will reduce pork demand, stimulating further liquidation of hog numbers and resulting in reduced feed demand,” he said.