Posted on July 28, 2022

New York City Officials Call on W.H.O. to Rename ‘Stigmatizing’ Monkeypox Virus

Jordan Dixon-Hamilton, Breitbart, July 26, 2022

New York City health officials called on the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) to rename monkeypox, citing the “stigmatizing effects” the virus’s name may have on “vulnerable communities.”

The call to rename monkeypox comes as 1,092 New York City residents have tested positive for the virus, according to city data. New York City’s health department website also refers to monkeypox as “Orthopoxvirus.”

In a letter sent to W.H.O. Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, New York City Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan urged the name change, citing “the stigma it may engender” and the name’s “painful and racist history.”

“Further, we have a growing concern for the potentially devastating and stigmatizing effects that the messaging around the ‘monkeypox’ virus can have on these already vulnerable communities,” Vasan wrote.

Commissioner Vasan noted that the W.H.O. previously proposed changing the virus’s name in a June press conference.


Vasan wrote:

Continuing to use the term “monkeypox” to describe the current outbreak may reignite these traumatic feelings of racism and stigma — particularly for Black people and other people of color, as well as members of the LGBTQIA+ communities, and it is possible that they may avoid engaging in vital health care services because of it.