Last week the World Health Organization announced that they would be renaming the monkeypox virus. The reason behind the decision to rename the virus is that scientists were concerned that the current name is “discriminatory and stigmatizing.”
Over 30 researchers signed a position paper saying there was an “urgent need” to change the name. The group also said, “Continued reference to, and nomenclature of this virus being African is not only inaccurate but is also discriminatory and stigmatizing.”
In addition to the new name for the monkeypox virus, the naming convention for the different strains of the virus will also be changed. It is reported that a letter system will likely be used. Although nothing has officially been announced.
The use of a letter system will remove any mention of the parts of Africa where the strains were first discovered.
We will make announcements about the new names as soon as possible
The head of the WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, confirmed in a statement that the organization will be renaming the virus.
Ghebreyesus said of the renaming of the monkeypox virus, “WHO is working with partners and experts from around the world on changing the name of monkeypox virus, its clades, and the disease it causes. We will make announcements about the new names as soon as possible.”
To rename the monkeypox virus, the WHO and the scientific community have to agree on replacement terms. Once agreed upon, the new terms will be used in official statements, scientific papers, and in interviews with the media.
A similar process was used for COVID-19. The decision in that case was made to use a Greek letter naming system for coronavirus variants.
The monkeypox was first discovered in 1958
The monkeypox was first discovered in 1958. An outbreak of the virus occurred in monkeys that were being kept for research.
The current naming system divides the virus into two types, the West African version and Central African or Congo Basin version. Monkeypox is rarely seen outside of West and Central Africa, where it is endemic. Since the middle of May there have been more than 2,000 cases reported in several countries around the world.
Monkeypox is a rare disease similar to smallpox and is caused by the monkeypox virus. It causes flu-like symptoms and a rash that can take weeks to clear. Monkeypox is rarely fatal.