Apparently, some current disease names are hurting both people and animals. The World Health Organization has released a list of guidelines for naming diseases in the proper, politically correct way — because apparently insensitive names can have disastrous effects on entire economies and countries. “Terms that should be avoided in disease names include geographic locations (e.g. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, Spanish Flu, Rift Valley fever), people’s names, species of animal or food, cultural, population, industry or occupational references, and terms that incite undue fear,” the report advises.  In what can only be considered as “collective brain-fart”, the health body bizarrely declared swine flu, bird flu and monkey pox should be abolished as terms to avoid a backlash against animals.  WHO, a UN agency that gets £35 million of British taxpayers’ money a year, said the terms could have a “negative impact” on travel, tourism or animal welfare. Apparently, WHO considers political correctness to be more important in a disease’s name than giving information about the disease. “We’ve seen certain disease names provoke a backlash against members of particular religious or ethnic communities, create unjustified barriers to travel, commerce and trade, and trigger the needless slaughtering of food animals,” said Dr. Keiji Fuduka, WHO’s assistant director-general for health security.  So, according to this liberal logic, if “swine flu” is a no-go because it is offensive to pigs, that means that “chicken pox” would also be unacceptable because it’s offensive to chickens. In an interview with NPR, Fukuda explained that the term “swine flu” is problematic because “in Egypt, in essence, all of the pigs were killed because they thought that was the cause of the disease.”  Of course, as National Review noted, swine flu does in fact come from swine. 
Although Fuduka insists that the wrong name “can have serious consequences for peoples’ [sic] lives and livelihoods,” not everyone considers this to be a huge issue.  “This won’t save lives. It comes under the heading of political correctness and I am very sceptical it will have any permanent benefit,” said Bacteriologist Professor Hugh Pennington, according to an article in The Daily Mail. “As for avoiding upsetting animals, that is a load of rubbish,” he added.   Virologist and bird flu expert Professor John Oxford said: “This document is laudable in its intent but slightly daft. There is a danger the WHO will be seen as a laughing stock.” The Daily Mail has been joined by a number of other, particularly right-of-center tabloids in decrying the move as “political correctness gone mad.”  WHO’s assistant director-general Keiji Fukuda defended the proposal as a move against needless slaughter of animals as well as losses in global trade and travel. The organisation’s Dr Margaret Harris said: “We want to get away from emotive and stigmatising terminology.”  The World Health Organization’s new recommendations–which do not replace WHO’s International Classification of Diseases (ICD) but rather will be used to supplement future naming procedures and may lead to some changes in the future, but according to THEM those changes aren’t about political correctness at all. They are in fact about using neutral terminology to give the general public the most accurate picture about certain diseases and the threat it poses to public health.  A WHO official even told Nature that discussions for a revised nomenclature were underway before the spat, and that the “impetus was scientific”.