USDA urges media to drop “Swine Flu” label

by Editor
Monday, September 14, 2009

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan addressed the media on the department’s H1N1 preparations in separate briefings, stressing the importance of responsible, accurate reporting and urging members of the press to cease calling the novel strain “swine flu” and instead refer to it as H1N1.

Vilsack reminded reporters that H1N1 virus is not the same as swine flu. He said that this H1N1 is a unique virus and that there have been no reports in 2009 of the virus circulating in swine herd – and even if it were, humans could not be affected by eating pork.

Vilsack said USDA is increasing animal health surveillance and monitoring, and is developing a master seed virus to assist in the production of a vaccine to protect swine herds. This master seed virus has been provided to five veterinary biological manufacturers.