Fri | Sep 29, 2023

WHO renames monkeypox as ‘Mpox’, citing racism concerns

Published:Tuesday | November 29, 2022 | 12:09 AM
This image provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) shows a colourised transmission electron micrograph of monkeypox particles (red) found within an infected cell (blue), cultured in the laboratory that was captured and colour-enhanced at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility in Fort Detrick, Maryland.


The World Health Organization has renamed monkeypox as ‘mpox’, citing concerns that the original name of the decades-old animal disease could be construed as discriminatory and racist.

The agency said in a statement on Monday that Mpox was its new preferred name for monkeypox, saying that both monkeypox and Mpox would be used for the next year while the old name is phased out.

WHO said it was concerned by the “racist and stigmatising language” that arose after monkeypox spread to more than 100 countries. It said numerous individuals and countries asked the organisation “to propose a way forward to change the name”.

In August, WHO began consulting experts about renaming the disease, shortly after the UN agency declared monkeypox’s spread to be a global emergency

To date, there have been more than 80,000 cases identified in dozens of countries that had not previously reported the smallpox-related disease. Until May, monkeypox, a disease that is thought to originate in animals, was not known to trigger large outbreaks beyond central and west Africa.