WHO to Rename Monkeypox to Fight Stigma, Media Reports

The World Health Organization (WHO) is planning to rename the monkeypox virus to “MPOX” to destigmatize the virus, Politico reported based on anonymous sources.

Three people with knowledge of the matter told Politico that the virus might be renamed as early as next Wednesday. It comes after senior Biden administration officials privately urged the WHO leaders to change the name.

In June, the WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced that the organization “was working with partners and experts from around the world on changing the name of monkeypox virus, its clades, and the disease it causes.”

In an open letter published in August, public health experts proposed to consider non-discriminatory and non-stigmatizing names and classifications of the monkeypox virus clades to contain the outbreak better. Experts also urged media in the global north, where the virus was spreading rapidly, to stop using photos of African patients to depict the pox lesions.

Since the beginning of the outbreak in May, over 29,000 cases of monkeypox and 14 deaths have been reported in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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