Posted on August 15, 2022

WHO to Rename Monkeypox to Avoid Discrimination and Stigmatization

Sarah Rumpf, Fox News, August 13, 2022

The World Health Organization says it’s holding an open forum to rename monkeypox, after some critics raised concerns the name could be considered discriminatory and stigmatizing.

WHO said the decision was made after meeting with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), which helps identify best practices for naming new human diseases to “avoid causing offense to any cultural, social, national, regional, professional, or ethnic groups, and minimize any negative impact on trade, travel, tourism or animal welfare.”

In a statement Friday, the U.N. health agency said it has also renamed two families, or clades, of the virus, using Roman numerals instead of geographic areas, to avoid stigmatization.


WHO said that the new names for the clades will take effect immediately while a new name for the disease and virus will be worked on. {snip}

The decision comes after a group of scientists in June proposed an “urgent” name change, calling the current name “discriminatory and stigmatizing.”


“In the context of the current global outbreak, continued reference to, and nomenclature of this virus being African is not only inaccurate but is also discriminatory and stigmatizing. The most obvious manifestation of this is the use of photos of African patients to depict the pox lesions in mainstream media in the global north” they said in a joint statement.