The presidents of the Illinois and Indiana pork producer associations have sent out an editorial plea to media outlets as children prepare to return to school and as the flu season approaches:

Please stop referring to the novel H1N1 flu virus as “swine flu.”

The leaders strongly stress:

--There are no cases of pigs with the virus anywhere in the United States;

--There are no cases of pig-to-human or human-to-pig transmission of this flu strain;

--There is no correlation between pork products and contracting the H1N1 flu; and

--There is no “swine” connection to “swine flu.”

The editorial plea points out that by referring to this new flu strain as swine flu,” the term flu inadvertently becomes associated with hog farms and/or pork products “which has spooked the general public and has economically devastated the pork industry.

“Unwarranted reductions in demand for pork products because of fears of contracting the flu have resulted in millions of dollars of losses for the pork industry, which itself is struggling to regain profitability after two years of record-high input costs. Additional market pressure on pork products as a result of an ill-named association with ‘swine flu’ will put a further significant strain on an industry that cannot afford it,” the letter to the media explains.

The World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and the Indiana State Department of Health have all stopped using the term “swine flu” more than two months ago.

“We encourage you to follow the lead of these respected health organizations by referring to the H1N1 virus appropriately as you report on this flu strain this fall,” says the media letter sent by Indiana Pork President Randy Curless and Illinois Pork Producers Association President Phil Borgic.