Monkeypox -monkeypox in English- will be called mpox in all languages, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Monday.
Text: RFI / AFP
Both names will be used for a year, before the term monkeypox is completely replaced, the WHO said.
The Geneva-based body has the authority to name new diseases and, very exceptionally, change the name of existing ones.
«The question of the use of the new name in different languages was dealt with at length. The term mpox can be used in other languages,” the WHO noted.
If it is problematic in any language, the WHO would launch consultations with the competent authorities.
When the monkeypox outbreak began in the spring of 2022, “racist and stigmatizing statements” were observed online, prompting some countries and individuals to call for a name change, the WHO recalled.
Monkeypox was so named because it was originally identified in monkeys destined for research in Denmark in 1958, but the disease most commonly develops in rodents.
It was first reported in humans in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Its spread to humans was limited to certain West African countries where it is endemic.
But in May, cases of monkeypox began to appear around the world.
The disease causes skin rashes, which can appear on the genital organs or in the mouth, and be accompanied by fever and sore throat.
In most cases, the patients are men who have sex with men.
This year, some 81,107 cases and 55 deaths have been reported to WHO in 110 countries.
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