We won't call it swine flu," Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman, a black-garbed Orthodox Jew, was quoted by Reuters news agency. He also assured the Israeli public that authorities were prepared to handle any cases.
Eating of pork is prohibited by Judaism, the religion practiced by the majority of Israelis. Islam likewise bans consumption of pork. Israel has yet to confirm a case of the swine flu epidemic that is believed to have killed at least 103 people in Mexico and has spread to the United States and Europe. A 26-year-old Israeli man who returned from Mexico last Friday has been hospitalized and authorities were waiting for test results to determine whether he has contracted the potentially deadly strain, reported Agence France-Presse. Another man who had recently returned from Mexico was quarantined on Monday after checking himself into a hospital, officials said.
The World Organization for Animal Health said yesterday that the name swine flu is a misnomer as the deadly virus has origins among birds and humans as well as pigs.