The World Health Organization to Rename Monkeypox Over Concerns of Racism Stigma

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Image: Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images.

The World Health Organization (WHO) will rename monkeypox due to the stigma of racism, reports the Washington Post. A group of researchers advocated for a “nondiscriminatory and non-stigmatizing nomenclature.”

“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 researchers wrote, noting the media’s continual use of photos of African patients from previous epidemics to display lesions on the bodies of those who contracted the disease.

According to the 39 countries that report data to WHO, more than 1,600 monkeypox cases have been confirmed and nearly 1,500 more are suspected. 32 of the countries had previously reported no infections, causing concern across the global health community with the anticipation of the spread of the virus.

Currently, the most cases have been reported in Europe, including Britain, Germany and Portugal.

Last week, the White House reported there were at least 45 cases identified in 15 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. 

According to the report, the numbers are expected to surpass those of a 2003 monkeypox outbreak, which could potentially make it the biggest epidemic of the disease in the history of the United States.

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