WHO to use ‘mpox’ instead of monkeypox to avoid stigma, racism | World Health Organization News

The World Health Organization (WHO) says it will adopt “mpox”, a new preferred term for monkeypox, to avoid racism and stigma associated with the existing name.

The United Nations has previously criticized some coverage of the virus, warning that poor journalism “may reinforce homophobic and racist stereotypes and exacerbate stigma”.

The disease was first discovered in humans in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and its spread among humans has since been mainly confined to certain West and Central African countries.

An increase in monkeypox infections has been reported since early May, especially among men who have sex with other men, outside of African countries where it has long been endemic.

The UN has proposed limiting the number of sexual partners a person has to reduce the risk of transmission. While men who have sex with men have a disproportionate chance of being affected, government officials have stressed that anyone can get monkeypox.

But in May, cases of the disease, which causes fever, muscle aches and large boils on the skin, began to spread rapidly around the world.

The WHO declared the spread of monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC), the highest alert level of the global health organization, on July 23.

“As the monkeypox outbreak expanded earlier this year, racist and stigmatizing language was observed online, in other settings and in some communities and reported to WHO,” the UN health agency said on Monday.

The WHO launched a public consultation earlier this year to find a new name for the disease and received more than 200 proposals.

One of the most popular suggestions from the public was ‘mpox’ or ‘Mpox’, put forward by the men’s health organization REZO, among others. The director said at the time that removing images of monkeys helped people take the health crisis seriously.

“Following a series of consultations with global experts, the WHO will adopt a new preferred term ‘mpox’ as a synonym for monkeypox. Both names will be used simultaneously for a year while ‘monkey pox’ is phased out.”

The United States, one of the countries and agencies that supported the name change, welcomed the announcement.

“We must do everything we can to remove the public health barriers, and reducing the stigma associated with the disease is a critical step in our work to end mpox,” said the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra.

The WHO has a mandate to assign new names to existing diseases under the International Classification of Diseases.

In general, it tries to prevent a disease or virus from being associated with a country, region, animal, or ethnic group.

Last year, it assigned the letters of the Greek alphabet to new variants of the coronavirus to avoid linking them to specific countries.

Considerations include scientific adequacy, pronounceability, and usability in different languages.

“WHO will use the term mpox in its communications and encourages others to follow these recommendations, to minimize any lingering negative consequences of the current name,” the statement said.

The one-year transition is to avoid confusion caused by changing the name during a global outbreak.

This year there have been 81,107 confirmed cases and 55 deaths reported to WHO from 110 countries.

Where the given data set was known, 97 percent were male, with a median age of 34 years; 85 percent identified as having sex with men, according to WHO’s case dashboard.

The 10 most affected countries worldwide are: United States (29,001), Brazil (9,905), Spain (7,405), France (4,107), Colombia (3,803), Great Britain (3,720), Germany (3,672), Peru (3,444 ), Mexico (3,292), and Canada (1,449). They account for 86 percent of the global number of cases.

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Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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