The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that monkeypox will now be referred to as mpox following objections regarding the racist and stigmatizing terminology associated with the virus’s moniker.
The previous phrase will coexist with the new one for a calendar year until it is phased away.
Mpox was chosen following extensive deliberation by specialists, nations, and the general public.
According to the WHO, it is simple to use in both English and other languages.
The disease caused by the virus was first detected in humans in 1970 and given the name monkeypox since it was found in confined monkeys more than a decade earlier.
It stresses the need to avoid offending any cultural, social, national, or ethnic groups and to minimize any unwarranted detrimental influence on trade, travel, tourism, or animal welfare.
Because they were “non-stigmatizing” and simple to pronounce, Greek alphabet letters were advised for use when referring to variants during the Covid epidemic.
This year, the mpox virus, which belongs to the same family of viruses as smallpox, has expanded unusually in many nations outside of central and west Africa, where it is often found.
The WHO declared a global health emergency in July as a result of the sharp increase in cases occurring globally, which included high fevers and skin lesions or rashes.
Although there have been fewer cases of the disease recently, more than 100 countries were impacted in 2022, which led to a significant demand for vaccine supplies to protect people who were most at risk.
The biggest overall number of mpox cases this year have been recorded from the US, Brazil, Spain, France, and the UK. 50 people have died as a result of the infection worldwide.
More than 3,500 cases have been reported in the UK since May, but after a peak in July, the number of cases began to decline as vaccines were distributed to at-risk groups.
Men who have sex with men were the majority of those affected.