WHO to rename monkeypox after scientists call it 'discriminating and stigmatizing'

Monkeypox to be renamed by WHO
(Image credit: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced that the monkeypox virus is about to get a new name, following accusations of it being "discriminatory and stigmatizing," Time reported.

The swollen-lymph node-causing virus will be renamed after several global scientists pushed for the change, said WHO. The claims of discrimination stemmed from the false narrative about monkeypox being linked to Africa, which scientists outlined in a letter published on June 10.

In their letter, the researchers argued that "[t]he most obvious manifestation of this is the use of photos of African patients to depict the pox lesions in mainstream media in the global north."

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One spokesperson added that the current name was not within the guidelines of the organization. Despite the virus being named in 1958 when it was first identified "in colonies of monkeys," People explains there are still geographical areas and animal names that WHO recommends avoiding.

The symptoms of the virus include fever, headache, muscle aches, chills, and fatigue followed by a rash that spreads from the face to other body parts — and typically is contracted by direct contact with bodily fluids. The death rate in Congo is about 1 in 10 people who catch it, whereas, in the United States, no one has died from monkeypox. Back in 2003, the U.S. saw "an outbreak with 47 cases," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

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Kelsee Majette

Kelsee Majette is a social media editor for The Week. Her writing previously appeared in 13News Now, NTV News, and Entity Magazine. She also is a lifestyle, beauty, and fashion connoisseur. A graduate of Regent University and Norfolk State University, she enjoys traveling and exploring in her free time.