WHO renames monkeypox, saying name is discriminatory and racist
Electron micrograph showing a particle of the monkeypox virus.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has renamed monkeypox (simian), raising concerns that to the original name of the decades-old animal disease, which could be interpreted as discriminatory and racist.
The UN agency said in a statement on Monday that the name mpox would be adopted to refer to monkeypox, but said both terms would be used within the next year until the old name is finalized. relegated to oblivion.
WHO has expressed concern over racist and stigmatizing language that has arisen after the spread of monkeypox to more than 100 countries. She said many individuals and countries have asked the organization to come up with a way forward to change the name.
In August, the WHO began consulting experts to rename the disease, shortly after the UN agency declared the spread of monkeypox a global emergency.
To date, more than 80,000 cases have been recorded in dozens of countries that had not previously seen smallpox-related illness. Until May, monkeypox, a disease thought to be of animal origin, was not known to trigger large outbreaks beyond West and Central Africa.
Outside of Africa, almost all of the cases involve gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men. Scientists believe that monkeypox has sparked epidemics in Western countries after it spread sexually in two parties in Belgium and Spain. Vaccination efforts in wealthy countries, along with targeted control interventions, have mostly brought the disease under control after its peak in the summer.
In Africa, the disease mainly affects people in contact with infected animals such as rodents and squirrels. The majority of deaths occurred in Africa, where there was virtually no vaccine available.
US health officials have warned that it may be impossible to eliminate the disease there, warning that it could pose an ongoing threat primarily to gay and bisexual men for years to come. .
The disease was first referred to as monkeypox in 1958, when research monkeys in Denmark had a smallpox-like illness, although they are not considered to be the animal reservoir of the disease.
Even though the WHO named many new diseases soon after they emerged, including severe acute respiratory syndrome , or SARS and COVID-19, this appears to be the first time the agency has attempted to rename a disease decades after it was first named.
Many other diseases, including Japanese encephalitis, German measles, Marburg virus and r syndrome espiratory of the Middle East, were named after geographical regions. WHO has not suggested changing any of these names.