Unfortunate timing: Journal retracts cover image, citing tsunami in Japan

It’s an unusual move: Pediatric Allergy and Immunology has switched out the cover image in the online versions of its March issue, after realizing that likening allergies to a tsunami while Japan is struggling with the devastating effects of a real-life disaster could be “open to misinterpretation.” From an editor’s note:

The cover illustration pertaining to ‘Food allergy: Riding the second wave of the allergic epidemic’ for the 2011 March issue of Pediatric Allergy and Immunology has been removed. This cover image was prepared in February, and the Editors and Publisher apologize if readers found it to be open to misinterpretation. We would like to assure all readers that there is absolutely no intent to cause any discomfort with regard to the unfortunate disaster in Japan.

The illustration, which was a cartoon, related to a review article whose abstract includes the phrase “potential tsunami of allergic disease.” On the online version, which went live on February 20 but was changed on March 18, the cover now features a graph showing the percentage of various allergy-inducing components in hazelnuts, other nuts, and tree pollen, among other plants.

The journal tells us that none of the issue’s content has been changed, just the cover.

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