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Leave primates and Africa out of it: WHO to change ‘monkeypox’ ...

World

Leave primates and Africa out of it: WHO to change ‘monkeypox’ name

The global health body says it is consulting experts in orthopoxviruses on a more appropriate nomenclature

Madison Muller

The World Health Organisation is weighing an official name change for monkeypox, in light of concerns about stigma and racism surrounding the virus that has infected almost 1,300 people in more than two dozen countries. 

More than 30 international scientists said last week the monkeypox label is discriminatory and stigmatising, and there’s an “urgent” need to rename it. The current name doesn’t fit with WHO guidelines that recommend avoiding geographic regions and animal names, a spokesperson said.

The proposal echoes a similar controversy that erupted when the WHO moved quickly to rename SARS-CoV-2 after people around the world referred to it as the China or Wuhan virus in the absence of an official designation. The actual animal source of monkeypox, which has been found in a wide variety of mammals, remains unknown...

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