(CTN News) – After critics raised concerns the name could be derogatory or racist, the WHO is holding an open forum to rename monkeypox disease.
It also renamed two families of the virus, or clades, using Roman numerals instead of geographical areas to avoid stigmatization.
Previously known as Congo Basin, Clade one is now known as Clade I and Clade two is known as Clade II.
This decision was made following a meeting of scientists this week and is consistent with current best practices for naming diseases.
which aim to “avoid offense to any cultural, social, national, regional, professional, or ethnic groups, and minimize any negative impact on trade, tourism, or animal welfare.”
There are numerous other diseases named after geographic areas, including Japanese encephalitis, Marburg virus, Spanish influenza, and Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome. There has been no public suggestion to change them.
In 1958, Danish research monkeys were observed to have a “pox-like” disease, although they do not appear to be the source of monkeypox.
A new name for monkeypox will also be announced by WHO, but it did not specify when.
Over 31,000 monkeypox cases have been identified globally since May, most outside Africa. It was not until May that monkeypox outbreaks spread beyond central and west Africa.
Earlier this month, the United States declared its own monkeypox epidemic a national emergency.
98% of cases outside Africa are in men who have sex with men. In a race against time, authorities are trying to stop monkeypox before it becomes entrenched.
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