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Save the swine from shame: 10 of the most stigmatizing disease names Print E-mail
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Post by Supaporn Wacharapluesadee   
ศุกร์, 15 พฤษภาคม 2015



The World Health Organization (WHO) recently released new guidelines aimed at reducing stigmatization when it comes to naming new diseases.

When researchers, health officials and the media start referring to a disease, names can often include the name of a person, a place or animals, which can in turn create discrimination, offensive or unnecessary and many times inaccurate correlations. Instead, its recommended that disease names be more directly tied to specific symptoms or more generic descriptors.

They also should be as consistent as possible with guidance from the International Classification of Diseases Content Model Reference Guide.

"1. Swine flu 2. Spanish flu 3. Middle East respiratory syndrome 4. Lyme disease 5. Japanese encephalitis 6. German measles 7. Monkey pox 8. Bird flu 9. Paralytic shellfish poisioning 10. Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever"

We recently gave the rundown on the new rules being advised by the WHO. But here’s a list of ten diseases that demonstrate the need for some change.

1. Swine flu: It’s very rare that swine flucan be passed directly from a pig to a person (when it does it’s called zoonotic swine flu) but there is minor potential for it to mutate, resulting in H1N1 for example. Again, very rare, and vaccinations are preventative. The reason the name is dangerous: The swine flu outbreak in Egypt in 2009 led to forcibly slaughtering many pigs, which the United Nations called a “real mistake” and the WHO said had no scientific basis.

2. Spanish flu: Between 1918 and 1919, this pandemic was the deadliest in modern history and infected an estimated 500 million people worldwide. But the spread of influenza was indeed worldwide, so having such a tragic spread of the virus associated directly with Spain (although that was one of the first countries it showed up) could be considered offensive.

3. Middle East respiratory syndrome: MERS is a viral respiratory infection thought to be derived by bats, specifically Egyptian tomb bats. Grouping all of the Middle East, or even Egypt, in the name of this virus is controversial.

4. Lyme disease: Spread by ticks, Lyme disease was diagnosed for the first time in Old Lyme, Connecticut in 1975. This one might not be as obviously discriminatory of a specific place, considering many people might not even be aware of Old Lyme, but it is an example of what the WHO is discouraging.

5. Japanese encephalitis: This virus is the main vaccine-preventable version of encephalitis in Asia and the western Pacific, which is spread by mosquitoes. It is certainly not specific to Japan and shouldn’t induce fear in tourists who are cautious and prepare before traveling.

6. German measles: Also known as Rubella, this viral infection is totally preventable with the MMR vaccine and is not specific to Germany whatsoever.

7. Monkey pox: This infectious disease was first identified in laboratory monkeys, but historically has been more commonly found in rodents. Symptoms resemble smallpox.

8. Bird flu: (Or Avian flu) Much like swine flu, this is a strain of influenza simply named after its original host and generally stays within that animal group when it comes to transmission. Humans can get it, especially if they handle dead or infected birds, but it is also rare, and human to human contraction is even more rare.

9. Paralytic shellfish poisioning: Different varieties of shellfish are filter feeders and accumulate neurotoxins called Saxitoxin. Consumption from humans can be pretty terrible, even deadly, especially for those who are have immunodeficiencies or small kids.

10. Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever: Despite its origins (mentioned in the name), the CDC reports that this tick-borne viral infection is now found in Eastern Europe, particularly in the former Soviet Union, throughout the Mediterranean, in northwestern China, central Asia, southern Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent.

Last Updated ( ศุกร์, 15 พฤษภาคม 2015 )
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