The World Health Organization has announced that “Monkeypox” will be renamed due to it being a discriminatory term.
This piece of news comes after a group of researchers first demanded for the viral illness to be referred to using a “nondiscriminatory and non-stigmatizing nomenclature.”
The recent international outbreak of this serious but rare disease, which has been endemic to West and Central Africa has no real link to these regions.
That being said, calling it monkeypox unfairly links the virus to the African continent, which could be cause for more discrimination and hate crimes.
This and more is what 29 biologists and other science experts wrote in a post earlier this month, in the Virological forum.
And now, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director General of WHO has acknowledged the request, promising to officially announce “the new names as soon as possible.”
The researchers wrote that “In the context of the current global outbreak, continued reference to, and nomenclature of this virus being African is not only inaccurate but is also discriminatory and stigmatizing.”
They also pointed out that the media has been using photos of African patients from previous endemics in order to depict the lesions commonly caused by the illness.
According to data sent to WHO by 39 different countries, over 1,600 monkeypox cases have been confirmed and almost 1,500 more are suspected at the moment.
A significant majority of these countries, 32 to be exact, had not reported any infections with this viral illness before which is why the spread has raised concerns amongst the health community.
After all, the virus seems to be behaving differently than in the past, which could be spelling another disastrous pandemic if not careful.
As for the United States, the White House announced last week that 45 cases at the very least, have been identified in total in 15 states and the District of Columbia.
Not only that but they also noted that the numbers are expected to surpass the ones registered during the 2003 outbreak which would make it the biggest the US has ever experienced.
Regardless, the authorities say the risk to the public remains low for the time being.
Usually, monkeypox spreads through human contact with animals like rodents or primates.
However, this year it’s spread through human to human contact more than ever before.
Infections with this virus tend to last between 2 and 4 weeks.
They start with flu like symptoms and swollen lymph nodes before bumps filled with fluid start surfacing on the skin.
Officials also point out that the more recent cases also involve genital rashes that could be confused with STDs such as herpes or syphilis.