It may be called swine flu around the world, but a senior Israeli official on Monday changed the term in order not to pronounce the name of the animal whose meat is banned by Judaism.
"We will use the term Mexican flu in order not to have to pronounce the word swine," said Deputy Health Minister Yakov Litzman of the ultra-religious United Torah Judaism party.
Eating pork is prohibited by Judaism, the religion practised by the majority of Israelis. Islam, adhered to by most of Israel's Arab minority, likewise bans the consumption of pork.
Israel has yet to confirm a case of the swine flu epidemic that is believed to have killed more than 100 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 hospitalised and authorities are waiting for test results to determine whether he has contracted the potentially deadly strain that the World Health Organisation has warned could reach pandemic proportions.
Another man who had recently returned from Mexico was quarantined on Monday after checking himself into a hospital in the centre of the country complaining of a sore throat, officials said.
The World Organisation for Animal Health said on Monday that the name swine flu is a misnomer as the deadly virus has origins among birds and humans as well as pigs.
猪流感 swine flu