Monkeypox: WHO recommends new name “mpox”

The World Health Organization (WHO) has suggested a new name for monkeypox: “mpox” in response to allegations that the name of the illness contains racist and stigmatizing rhetoric.

The choice was made after extensive discussions with international specialists. For a year, both terms will be used interchangeably before the monkeypox name is dropped.

“This serves to mitigate the concerns raised by experts about confusion caused by a name change in the midst of a global outbreak,” the agency said in a statement.

Twelve years after the virus that causes the disease was found in captive monkeys, the name “monkeypox” was coined in 1970. This was before WHO’s initial publication of recommended guidelines for naming diseases in 2015.

According to these recommendations, new illness names ought to minimize unwarranted detrimental effects on commerce, travel, tourism, or animal welfare. They should also take care not to upset any ethnic, national, regional, or cultural groups.

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