Nov 28, 2022 - Health

WHO renames monkeypox as mpox

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World Health Organization at their headquarters in Geneva. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

The World Health Organization announced on Monday that it is renaming monkeypox as mpox due to concerns that the original name could be perceived as racist or stigmatizing.

Driving the news: Both the monkeypox and mpox names will be used by WHO over the next year as the term "monkeypox" is gradually phased out, WHO said in a press release.

  • "When the outbreak of monkeypox expanded earlier this year, racist and stigmatizing language online, in other settings and in some communities was observed and reported to WHO," the press release stated.
  • WHO began consulting with experts about potentially renaming the disease back in August, per AP.

The big picture: While Monkeypox cases are more often found in Central and Western African countries, a monkeypox outbreak occurred in Europe and the U.S. in May this year.

  • The WHO declared monkeypox a global emergency in July, after the disease was detected in more than 70 countries.
  • Last month WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said monkeypox had seen "a promising decline globally. The number of reported cases has dropped for eight straight weeks. This is very encouraging."
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