Swine flu panic causes bizarre behaviorEgypt began slaughtering the roughly 300,000-350,000 pigs in the country Wednesday as a precautionary measure against the spread of swine flu even though no cases have been reported there yet, according to Health Ministry spokesman Abdel Rahman. This is a fairly useless measure because the mutated Influenza A H1N1 virus responsible for the outbreak can be transmitted from person to person and does not require a pig host.
Israel's ultra-Orthodox deputy health minister, Yakov Litzman, has stated that the swine flu is unkosher. "We won't call it swine flu. We will call it Mexican flu.", he said. Pork is considered unclean by Orthodox Jews, and it is a constant source of friction in Israel between the Kosher community and those who eat pork. Indeed, calling the disease the "Mexican Flu" will make everyone feel better, and a pig by any other name will smell as sweet.
The first case of the flu in Mexico was a four year old boy who is now recuperating. Mexico's Health Minister, Jose Angel Cordova, said that in addition to 151 deaths, another 2000 persons had been admitted to the hospital with "grave pneumonia", and at least half of them had since made a full recovery. It is thought that the virus mutated into a virulent form at a village called La Gloria in the state of Veracruz, where residents have long complained about the smell and flies from a nearby pig farm. The facility, Granjas Carroll de Mexico, is partly owned by Smithfield Foods, a Virginia-based US company and the world's largest producer and processor of pork products.
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