The World Health Organization (W.H.O.) has declared that the name “monkeypox” is fundamentally discriminatory and that the term “mpox” should be used when referring to the virus to spare the feelings and ease the stigma of people who have suffered attacks.
The Geneva, Switzerland-based group said the move was spurred by worries not just about the underlying racism indicated by anyone who uses the phrase, but also by how it stigmatized patients earlier this year when the term became popular.
“In several public and private discussions, a number of people and governments voiced concerns and asked the World Health Organization to recommend a way forward to alter the name,” it stated.
Monkeypox got its moniker when the virus was discovered in monkeys maintained for studies in Denmark in 1958.
The World Health Organization signaled the impending move earlier this year by appointing a committee to explore the topic, according to Breitbart News.
The disease was discovered in a variety of animals, most notably rodents, prior to crossing species and infecting people.
The World Health Organization stated that when reaching its judgment, it took into account scientific suitability, its application in many languages, the absence of geographical or zoological allusions, and the ease of accessing historical scientific material.
“Mpox will emerge as the preferred name, replacing monkeypox, after a one-year transition period,” the organization stated. “This helps to alleviate experts’ fears about confusion generated by a name change in the middle of a global pandemic.”
The International Media Association, Africa had previously requested that Western media outlets refrain from utilizing photos of Africans when reporting on monkeypox.
“It can occur in any region of the world and affect anyone, regardless of race or nationality,” the organization stated.
It was “disturbing,” the group added, that media outlets would immediately utilize photos of black skin when presenting monkeypox.
Monkeypox is an uncommon disease that was discovered in people in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Though it can spread to other countries, the disease is predominantly found in western and central Africa. It is frequently transmitted from animals (primates or rodents) to people by a scratch or a bite.