The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) said in a statement later Monday that it proposed to refer to the new virus 'swine influenza' as 'North American influenza'.

Because the virus that is circulating includes genetic components of human, avian and swine origin, so the current name 'swine influenza' is not correct.

The OIE wished to redefine the name in keeping with a long medical tradition of naming influenza pandemics for the regions where they were first indentified.

This has included the Spanish flu of 1918 to 1919, the Asia flu of 1957 to 1958 and the Hong Kong flu of 1967 to 1968.

The OIE also points out that it will continue to respond to new, incoming information as the situation evolves.

While government officials in Thailand, one of the world's largest meat exporters, have started referring to the disease as 'Mexican flu.'

An Israeli deputy health minister, an ultra-Orthodox Jew, said his country would do the same to keep Jews from having to say the word 'swine.' However, his call seemed to have been largely ignored.

The debate is likely to continue as scientists and health authorities try to trace the disease.