Although yes, it is fun to make fun of the constant renaming of the swine flu (Political correctness! Confusing name! Trent Reznor’s new concept album!), but it’s, uh, actually important, as people and governments react to what the disease is called.
You hear blank disease, you respond to whatever “blank” is. If I call tuberculosis Chips Ahoyculosis, Nabisco’s going to be pissed because everyone thinks that their little cookies cause a potentially fatal disease. If we rename AIDS the Tulsa virus, Oklahoma’s about to lose out on some rather significant tourism dollars.
The point isn’t just to call the disease an accurate name, it’s to assure that the response to the disease is orderly, careful and doesn’t result in disproportionate fallout that harms groups or interests that have no inherent connection to the disease at hand. Especially since the 1950s’ tragic and overwarm experience with Short Pants In The Summer Flu.