Monkeypox To Be Renamed By WHO To Prevent Discrimination And Confusion WHO Should Change the Name of the Disease “Monkeypox” to Prevent Discrimination and Confusion The World Health Organization (WHO) is planning to give the disease formerly known as monkeypox a new name in an effort to lessen the negative connotations associated with it and clear up any confusion.
The changes will also apply to the names of the various clades, strains, and genotypes of the monkeypox virus, such as the “West African clade.” “WHO is also working with partners and experts from around the world on changing the name of monkeypox virus, its clades, and the disease it causes,” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of WHO, said in a press conference on Tuesday.
Monkeypox To Be Renamed By WHO To Prevent Discrimination And Confusion
“As soon as it is humanly practicable, we will make announcements regarding the new names.”
As of the 8th of June, approximately 1,285 instances of the infection that have been lab-confirmed have been recorded in four WHO regions where monkeypox is not typical or had not previously been recognized, most notably in Europe and North America.
The announcement to change the name of the virus comes less than a week after 30 scientists published an open letter expressing the “urgent need” to change the language surrounding the monkeypox virus. In the letter, the scientists argued that the language could foster discrimination against people, particularly the continued reference to Africa (where it is endemic) and the use of images of African people in media coverage of the current outbreak in Europe and the United States. The name change announcement comes less than a week after the letter was published.
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According to what is written in the letter, “we believe this is an opportunity for a break with the name monkeypox and the historical associations associated to that name.”
“There is a growing narrative in the media as well as among many experts that are trying to relate the current worldwide outbreak to Africa, West Africa, or Nigeria. This is an attempt to explain where the outbreak originated. In addition, the usage of geographical labels for different strains of MPXV, more specifically, references to the 2022 epidemic as belonging to the “West African” or “Western African” clade, strain, or genotype. Accordingly, we think that a nomenclature that is impartial, non-discriminatory, and non-stigmatizing will be more acceptable for the global health community,” the statement continues.
The term “hMPXV” was mentioned in the letter as being one of the possibilities; however, there is no assurance that the WHO will settle on this.
In times past, it was common practice to give diseases names that were derived from either location names (such as the Spanish flu or the West Nile virus) or animals (swine flu, chickenpox, etc). On the other hand, in recent years, the World Health Organization (WHO) has revised its policy regarding the naming of diseases and has moved away from this method.
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This is due to the fact that the titles of diseases frequently provide an inaccurate portrayal of the illness and have the potential to encourage discrimination against individuals. For instance, human cases of monkeypox are typically brought about by the transmission of the virus from monkeys and other primates to rats, squirrels, and, to a lesser extent, rodents. People infected with the “West African clade” of the virus are equally unlikely to have had much contact with this region of the world. This is because the “West African clade” of the virus is only found in West Africa.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is working toward the adoption of a neutral name for the disease in the hopes of alleviating some of the misconceptions and assumptions that may impede efforts to contain the infections in the most efficient manner feasible.