WHO renames monkeypox as ‘mpox’

WHO renames monkeypox as 'mpox'
WHO renames monkeypox as 'mpox'

Africa-Press – Rwanda. The World Health Organisation (WHO), on Monday November 28, announced that the monkeypox virus will now be termed as “mpox.”

The organisation says both names will be used simultaneously for one year while “monkey pox” is phased out.

The development comes after a number of complaints arose in regards to how the original name is ‘related to racial stigma.’

“When the outbreak of monkeypox expanded earlier this year, racist and stigmatising language online, in other settings and in some communities was observed and reported to WHO,” the global health agency said in a statement.

The “monkey pox” name was assigned to the disease in 1970 after the discovery of the virus in monkeys in the late 1950s.

“New disease names should be given with the aim to minimise unnecessary negative impact of names on trade, travel, tourism or animal welfare, and avoid causing offence to any cultural, social, national, regional, professional or ethnic groups,” the statement read in part.

Monkeypox is a viral zoonotic infection, meaning that it can spread from animals to humans. It can also spread from humans to other humans and from the environment to humans.

It spreads from person-to-person through close contact with someone who has a monkey pox rash.

Close contact can mean being face-to-face (such as talking, breathing or singing close to one another which can generate droplets or short-range aerosols); skin-to-skin (such as touching or sex); mouth-to-mouth (such as kissing).

No case has ever been registered in Rwanda, though a number of countries, including some in Africa, have reported cases.

Mid this year, Rwanda announced a monkeypox preparedness plan worth Rwf10 billion, aimed at responding to the outbreak.

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