WHO plans to rename monkeypox over stigmatization concerns

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World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during a daily press briefing on COVID-19 virus at the WHO headquaters in Geneva on March 9, 2020. - The World Health Organization said on March 9, 2020 that more than 70 percent of those infected with the new coronavirus in China have recovered, adding that the country was "bringing its epidemic under control". (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

LONDON — The World Health Organization says it’s holding an open forum to rename the disease monkeypox, after some critics raised concerns the name could be derogatory or have racist connotations.

In a statement Friday, the U.N. health agency said it has also renamed two families, or clades, of the virus, using Roman numerals instead of geographic areas, to avoid stigmatization. The version of the disease formerly known as the Congo Basin will now be known as Clade one or I and the West Africa clade will be known as Clade two or II.

WHO said the decision was made following a meeting of scientists this week and in line with current best practices for naming diseases, which aims to “avoid causing offense to any cultural, social, national, regional, professional, or ethnic groups, and minimize any negative impact on trade, travel, tourism or animal welfare.”

Numerous other diseases, including Japanese encephalitis, Marburg virus, Spanish influenza and Middle Eastern Respiratory Syndrome have been named after the geographic areas where they first arose or were identified. WHO has not publicly suggested changing any of those names.

Monkeypox was first named in 1958 when research monkeys in Denmark were observed to have a “pox-like” disease, although they are not thought to be the animal reservoir.

WHO said it was also opening a way for the public to suggest new names for monkeypox, but did not say when any new name would be announced.

To date, there have been more than 31,000 cases of monkeypox identified globally since May, with the majority of those beyond Africa. Monkeypox has been endemic in parts of central and west Africa for decades and was not known to trigger large outbreaks beyond the continent until May.

WHO declared the global spread of monkeypox to be an international emergency in July and the U.S. declared its own epidemic to be a national emergency earlier this month.

Outside of Africa, 98% of cases are in men who have sex with men. With only a limited global supply of vaccines, authorities are racing to stop monkeypox before it becomes entrenched as a new disease.

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17 COMMENTS

    • So right. These people are so ridiculous it’s not funny anymore. As if changing the name will lessen it’s virulence or infect only non blacks. The political correctness has gone to a level of being nauseatingly. Even though I don’t support Trump, I think he was on to something about this kind of pandering and political correcting. People can’t even have an honest conversation these days without someone becoming offended. If only they would realize the problem isn’t outside, but inside them and that they have the power to change only themselves, the day of freedom would arrive for them. You can’t change others, but you can change yourself mindsets and therefore, the results you get.

    • Tamper with some virus to create a new shit
      Mass-produce it in China (it will be absolute junk as always be way less expensive)
      Let the corrupt media sell more BS to gullible idiots (there are so many)
      Now botch a dangerous and useless vaccine” and convince people they need to be injected not once but three times!
      Make a LOT of money
      Repeat

  1. Just as they tried to stigmatize black people with covid 19, so they are trying to stigmatize black people with monkey pox. Heard on an American news channel that 80% of the people with monkey pox are black. Who gave all the homosexual and bisexual men all over the world monkey pox? I guess black people developed it in a lab and gave it to them. Some countries have been developing and storing monkey pox for a few years. Who told them monkey pox was going to be an issue.

    • Which american news channel? I’ve heard it’s primarily among “gays”. Among blacks, I haven’t heard that.

      • @ Scott
        You will hear it. Just like they said 60% of the people in the USA who died from vivid 19 were black people. That would be over 600,000 black people. The racist culture of stigmatizing black people continues.

    • Black people make up more of the worlds population than ur sorry ass n we are more intelligent so ur hatred is because u asshole is SHIT n inferior …….ur gay ass should be in the sodom n gomora time then ur mouth wouldn’t speak dog shit I stinking ass hole ….go f**k ur ancestors.you gay virus spreading cockroach

      • Feeding such pathetic trolls ma’am only serves to cost you a good night’s sleep and higher blood pressure.
        Let it go, cleansing breaths.

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