Readers respond

Nov. 1, 2009

Letters to the editor

Readers respond

By Author Name

“Flu” before “swine”?

As a CLS and former 4-H leader, I find I must take
exception to your nomenclature for the H1N1 flu. The September 2009
issue contained an article entitled “Flu update,” pages 38-40. In this
article, the term “swine flu” was used at least four times. [In] a
medical publication such as MLO, only correct terminology should
be used. I realize that these points were quotes from different articles
originally published elsewhere, but they appear to be condensed or
summarized. As a medical professional who has been involved in
agriculture for many years, the term so-called “swine flu'” (H1N1) has
far-reaching effects on the pork agricultural industry. The misinformed
public believed they would contract “swine flu” from eating pork and
that the virus came from swine, thus causing millions of dollars in
losses in this large and important American agricultural industry.

—Linda Cannon, CLS

Sisters of St Joseph of Orange

Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital

Santa Rosa, CA

Editor's note: We appreciate Ms. Cannon's comments, which
echo those of U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack who recently
assured consumers that eating pork or pork products would not transmit
H1N1 flu to humans. According to news reports, U.S. Department of
Agriculture officials found a flu virus in samples collected from pigs
between Aug. 26 and Sept. 1 at the Minnesota State Fair. Officials first
believed the pigs caught the virus from infected 4-H students who were
visiting the fair; 100 children were sent home after four were confirmed
to be infected. On Oct. 19, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced
that tests confirmed the identification of pandemic H1N1 virus in one of
the show pigs, although some reports state three of these pigs were
infected. Show pigs and commercial pigs are separated; thus, the show
pigs do not have the opportunity to infect the herds of commercial pigs.
No one knows yet how the pig(s) was infected; keeping the virus from
spreading is now the priority.

ConFLUsion, you say?

The article “Flu update” in the September 2009 issue has
me confused. Box #7 (page 40) says “stomach symptoms are not caused by the
flu virus.” Box #8 says “Symptoms of influenza … include … stomach symptoms
(e.g., nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.” Does it or doesn't it [cause stomach

—Jim Peters

Palomar Pomerado Health

Escondido, CA

Editor's note:
We did not clearly state this, but the stomach symptoms in Flu Box #7 refers
to viral gastroenteritis, which, according to the CDC, is often called the
'”stomach flu” or “intestinal flu” although it is not caused by the
influenza viruses but is, instead, caused by a variety of viruses, including
rotaviruses, noroviruses, adenoviruses, type 40 or 41, sapoviruses, and
astroviruses ( Flu Box
#8 refers to the seasonal flu and H1N1, which, according to the CDC, is a
contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses and can have
stomach symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. (
and Thank you for bringing this
conFLUsion to our attention so that we could clarify for other readers.

Sweet September cover baby

The child on this cover is the cutest picture I've seen!
You need this as a lab week poster. I'd love a copy! Train them young in the
field is a good plan for the future of medical technology. Thanks for the

—Patricia Mullenix, BS, MT(ASCP) SH

Hematology/2nd Shift

Satellite Lab Technical Manager

Memorial Health University Medical Center

Savannah, GA

Editor's note:
We liked the photograph of this little girl so much that we believe this
might be our best cover yet!

Toot, toot, long gone

This is a response to “Tooting my own horn” (Management Q&A, March 2009, page 24). You are finding out firsthand what an ASCP colleague of mine, David Glenn, once said: “Medical technologists are the Rodney Dangerfields of the medical community.” We get little to no respect from physicians.

Although I have never worked at a POL in the 22+ years I
have been in the field, I personally would not put up with what you are
going through. I would have left a LONG time ago to find a
better-paying job.

—William Blansfield, MT(ASCP), CLS(NCA)

Blood Bank Supervisor

USPHS Hospital

Pine Ridge, SD

Editor's note:
Readers may recall that “Tooting my own horn” had worked for 20 years at a
POL, and struggled through those years for appropriate pay, and questioned
why there was not the respect for lab techs that they deserve. We thank Mr.
Blansfield for his comments, his humor, and his patience in having MLO
finally print his letter!

Come and get it …

Medical Laboratory Observer(MLO) initiated its digital edition in October to celebrate 40 years as the leading peer-reviewed management source for medical laboratory professionals.

MLO was the first medical laboratory oriented
magazine in its marketplace, and was the brainchild of Ray Gambino, MD.
Gambino and the late Daniel M. Baer, MD, were early contributors to the
publication; Baer wrote and edited the ever-popular “Tips from the clinical
experts” for 25 years before his death in April 2009. Baer chose Brad S.
Karon, MD, PhD, of Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, as his replacement.

Highly regarded throughout the medical laboratory
industry, MLO is considered essential reading for pathologists,
clinical laboratory scientists, and educators by its 48,000+ subscribers.
contributing authors are experts in subject matter ranging from
infectious diseases to laboratory management issues, to top-tier advice, and
tips from clinical experts — all invaluable resources of information.

If you are a student in a recognized Clinical Laboratory
Sciences program, or if you work in a clinical laboratory outside of the 50
United States, sign up for a subscription to the new digital magazine at

While you are on MLO's homepage, sign up for our monthly
eNewsletter, LABline for update information not found in our print or
digital editions. And check out our online Clinical Laboratory Reference, or CLR, the industry's most useful
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