Why is WHO renaming Monkeypox?

,hill) – The World Health Organization is renaming monkeypox amid concerns that the name may be perceived as racist and may not accurately describe the origin of the virus.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in mid-June that the organization would change the name of Monkeypox.

“WHO is also working with partners and experts around the world to change the name of the #monkeypox virus, its group and the disease it causes. We will announce the new names as soon as possible.” According to WHO,

a group of scientists wrote a joint statement Earlier in June, the current name was called “discriminatory and stigmatizing”, urging a name change to Monkeypox.

“The prevailing belief in the international media and scientific literature is that” [monkeypox virus] Endemic to people in some African countries. However, it is well established that almost all [monkeypox virus] Outbreaks in Africa, prior to the 2022 outbreak, have been the result of animal-to-human transmission and have only rarely been reported from human-to-human transmission,” he said.

“In the context of the current global outbreak, the continued reference and naming of this virus as African is not only incorrect, but also discriminatory and stigmatising. The most obvious manifestation of this is the use of photographs of African patients to portray smallpox lesions in the mainstream media in the global north. ,

There are also concerns about whether the name of the virus accurately describes the origin of monkeypox. The virus got its name because it was first detected in monkey colonies in 1958, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that the actual source of the virus is unclear,

This is why some officials have warned people against targeting monkeys over the disease.

“People need to know very clearly that the transmission we are seeing is happening between humans to humans. This is close contact transmission. So the concern should be about where it is transmitted in the human population. and what humans can do to protect themselves from getting it and transmitting it. They certainly shouldn’t attack any animal,” WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris said on Tuesday.

The name change campaign comes amid the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, which former President Trump has referred to as the ‘China virus’ and ‘Wuhan virus’. WHO officials warned not to use that terminologyGiven that it may stigmatize the Asian community.

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