WHO rebrands Monkeypox after its name is deemed racist

Lucy Devine

Published 
| Last updated 

WHO rebrands Monkeypox after its name is deemed racist

Featured Image Credit: lempix.photos/Jozef Polc/Alamy Stock Photo

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has announced that the name of the Monkeypox disease will be rebranded after consultations with the public.

The change comes following criticism that the original name for the disease was racist and stigmatising.

The change comes following criticism that the original name for the disease was racist and stigmatising. Credit: Shutterstock
The change comes following criticism that the original name for the disease was racist and stigmatising. Credit: Shutterstock

In a statement, the WHO has explained that the disease will now be known as 'mpox' and that both names will be used for a year, while the term monkeypox is being phased out.

"Both names will be used simultaneously for one year while 'monkeypox' is phased out," they said.

The term 'mpox' was first suggested by men's health organisation REZO, who said removing the idea of monkey imagery would help people take it more seriously.

The disease was first identified in 1970 and named after the virus was discovered in captive monkeys in a Danish laboratory in 1958. This was before the WHO introduced advice on naming diseases, which emphasises avoiding the unnecessary negative impact on trade, travel, tourism or animal welfare, as well as avoiding causing offence to cultural, social, national or ethnic groups.

There have been more than 80,000 cases of mpox worldwide. Credit: Wavebreakmedia Ltd CCFVV-220708_2/Alamy Stock Photo
There have been more than 80,000 cases of mpox worldwide. Credit: Wavebreakmedia Ltd CCFVV-220708_2/Alamy Stock Photo

Mpox is a rare infection most commonly found in west or central Africa. Recently, there has been an upsurge in the UK, and in October, infectious disease expert Professor Neil Ferguson said that while Britain appears to be on top of the disease, there was the risk of resurgence.

The disease can be passed from person to person via any close physical contact with infected blisters or scabs (including during sexual contact, kissing, cuddling or holding hands); touching clothing, bedding or towels used by someone with mpox and the coughs or sneezes of a person when they're close to you.

If you get infected with mpox, it usually takes between 5 and 21 days for the first symptoms to appear. These include: a high temperature; a headache; muscle aches; backache; swollen glands; shivering; exhaustion and joint pain.

A rash usually appears a few days after the first symptoms and often begins on the face, before spreading to other parts of the body.

There is a vaccine for the disease. Credit: Shutterstock
There is a vaccine for the disease. Credit: Shutterstock

There have been more than 80,000 cases of mpox worldwide and 55 deaths, according to WHO data.

There is a vaccine for the disease and last week, data revealed a single shot provides 78 percent protection, according to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).

Research into the jab looked at data between 4 July and 3 November. A single dose provides 78 percent protection after 14 days, meanwhile a second dose is thought to extend this further.

Topics: News, UK News

Lucy Devine
More like this

Chosen for YouChosen for You

News

Turkey could have moved three metres following catastrophic earthquake, expert claims

an hour ago

Most Read StoriesMost Read

Jay-Z gives his unfiltered opinion on Beyoncé missing out on album of the year Grammy for fourth time

3 hours ago