World Health Organisation renames Monkeypox, it’s now just Mpox

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has announced that Monkeypox will now be known simply as MPox.

Both the name Monkeypox and Mpox will be used simultaneously for the next 2 months, but after that they’ll only be referring to the virus that has quickly spread around the world using its new name.

“When the outbreak of monkeypox expanded earlier this year, racist and stigmatising language online, in other settings and in some communities was observed and reported to WHO. In several meetings, public and private, a number of individuals and countries raised concerns and asked WHO to propose a way forward to change the name.” the organisation said in a statement.

The WHO considered alternatives to the name Monkeypox and considered suggestions put forward by health experts, members countries and members of the public.

“Considerations for the recommendations included rationale, scientific appropriateness, extent of current usage, pronounceability, usability in different languages, absence of geographical or zoological references, and the ease of retrieval of historical scientific information.” the WHO said.

Usually, the renaming of a disease or virus would take several years but on this occiasion the health body has been able to process the change rapidly.

Human monkeypox was given its name in 1970, its name being an extension of the virus that causes the disease which was first discovered in captive monkeys in 1958.

Mpox is a rare viral infection that is endemic in Central or West Africa, but since May this year there has been a global increase in cases reported from non-endemic countries.

As of 1st December, 81,107 cases had been confirmed across 110 different countries including a small number of cases in Western Australia. While the virus is not a sexually transmitted infection, it has been found predominately in male same-sex communities. People who are at high risk of being infected by the virus are encouraged to get a vaccination.

OIP Staff


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