WHO Recommends New Name for Monkeypox Disease

November 30, 2022 by Dan McCue
WHO Recommends New Name for Monkeypox Disease
This image, provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, shows a colorized transmission electron micrograph of monkeypox particles (red) found within an infected cell. (NIAID via AP, File)

GENEVA — The World Health Organization has begun using the term “mpox” as the preferred synonym for monkeypox.

Both names will be used simultaneously for one year while “monkeypox” is phased out, the organization said.

According to the WHO, when the current outbreak of monkeypox began earlier this year, it began receiving reports of racist and stigmatizing language about the illness and its victims on social media and other online forums.

Assigning names to new and, very exceptionally, to existing diseases is the responsibility of the WHO under the International Classification of Diseases and the WHO Family of International Health Related Classifications through a consultative process that includes WHO member states.

The WHO, in accordance with the ICD update process, held consultations to gather views from a range of experts, as well as countries and the general public, who were invited to submit suggestions for new names. Based on these consultations, and further discussions with WHO’s Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO recommends the following:

  • Adoption of the new synonym mpox in English for the disease.
  • Mpox will become a preferred term, replacing monkeypox, after a transition period of one year. This serves to mitigate the concerns raised by experts about confusion caused by a name change in the midst of a global outbreak. It also gives time to complete the ICD update process and to update WHO publications.  
  • The synonym mpox will be included in the ICD-10 online in the coming days. It will be a part of the official 2023 release of ICD-11, which is the current global standard for health data, clinical documentation and statistical aggregation.
  • The term “monkeypox” will remain a searchable term in the ICD, to match historic information.


Among those who welcomed the change was Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, who said in a statement, “We must do all we can to break down barriers to public health, and reducing stigma associated with disease is one critical step in our work to end mpox.”

Human monkeypox was given its name in 1970, before the publication of the WHO’s best practices in naming diseases was published in 2015.

According to the WHO’s best practices, new disease names should be given with the aim to minimize unnecessary negative impact of names on trade, travel, tourism or animal welfare, and avoid causing offense to any cultural, social, national, regional, professional or ethnic groups.

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue

A+
a-
  • monkeypox
  • World Health Organization
  • In The News

    Health

    Voting

    Health

    By Defining Sex, Some States Denying Transgender People Legal Recognition

    TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Mack Allen, an 18-year-old high school senior from Kansas, braces for sideways glances, questioning looks and... Read More

    TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Mack Allen, an 18-year-old high school senior from Kansas, braces for sideways glances, questioning looks and snide comments whenever he has to hand over his driver's license, which still identifies him as female. They've come from a police officer responding to a... Read More

    Facing Backlash Over IVF Ruling, Alabama Lawmakers Look for a Fix

    MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Lawmakers began scrambling for ways to protect Alabama in vitro fertilization services after multiple providers paused treatment in... Read More

    MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Lawmakers began scrambling for ways to protect Alabama in vitro fertilization services after multiple providers paused treatment in the wake of a state Supreme Court ruling that frozen embryos could be considered children under a state law. Facing a wave of shock and anger... Read More

    February 26, 2024
    by Jesse Zucker
    Try Heat Therapy to Warm Up This Winter

    WASHINGTON —  As we near the end of February, have you gotten tired of being cold yet? While you wait... Read More

    WASHINGTON —  As we near the end of February, have you gotten tired of being cold yet? While you wait for spring, heat therapy may be just what you need to warm up. If you’ve ever been to a sauna or steam room at a spa... Read More

    February 26, 2024
    by Jesse Zucker
    Breaking Down the Plant-Based Diet

    WASHINGTON — Does the word “diet” have a negative connotation to you? It often gets attached to quick fixes or... Read More

    WASHINGTON — Does the word “diet” have a negative connotation to you? It often gets attached to quick fixes or unsustainable plans that promise to help you “detox” or lose weight. The popular “plant-based diet” may be the one exception. One interpretation simply means eating more... Read More

    February 22, 2024
    by Dan McCue
    Study Finds More Than 40% of Americans Know Someone Who Died by Overdose

    SANTA MONICA. Calif. — More than 40% of Americans have known someone who died of a drug overdose, and about... Read More

    SANTA MONICA. Calif. — More than 40% of Americans have known someone who died of a drug overdose, and about one-third of those individuals say the death disrupted their lives, according to a new study by the Rand Corporation. Researchers with the nonprofit think tank and... Read More

    Silent Brain Changes Precede Alzheimer's. Researchers Have new Clues About Which Come First

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Alzheimer’s quietly ravages the brain long before symptoms appear and now scientists have new clues about the... Read More

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Alzheimer’s quietly ravages the brain long before symptoms appear and now scientists have new clues about the dominolike sequence of those changes — a potential window to one day intervene. A large study in China tracked middle-aged and older adults for 20 years,... Read More

    News From The Well
    scroll top