phased out | 

Monkeypox virus renamed mpox due to racism

It said that when the outbreak of monkeypox expanded earlier this year, racist and stigmatising language online was observed and reported

A patient with monkeypox© PA

Eilish O ReganIndependent.ie

The World Health Organisation (WHO) will begin using a new preferred term “mpox” as a synonym for the monkeypox virus.

Both names will be used simultaneously for one year while “monkeypox” is phased out.

It said that when the outbreak of monkeypox expanded earlier this year, racist and stigmatising language online, in other settings and in some communities was observed and reported to WHO.

In several meetings, public and private, a number of individuals and countries raised concerns and asked the WHO to propose a way forward to change the name.

Assigning names to new and, very exceptionally, to existing diseases is the responsibility of WHO under the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) and the WHO Family of International Health Related Classifications through a consultative process which includes member states.

The WHO held consultations to gather views from a range of experts, as well as countries and the general public, who were invited to submit suggestions for new names.

WHO’s director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has now recommended the adoption of the new synonym mpox in English for the disease.

Mpox will become a preferred term, replacing monkeypox, after a transition period of one year.

The term “monkeypox” will remain a searchable term in ICD, to match historic information.

Human monkeypox was first given its name in 1970. The virus that causes the disease was discovered in captive monkeys in 1958.

Common signs of infection include the development of a new rash, fever, headache, muscle aches, exhaustion, and swollen lymph nodes.


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