The World Health Organization said monkeypox would be renamed after the term was feared as ‘discriminatory’. World News

The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that monkeypox will be renamed.

It comes after a group of scientists said there was an “urgent need for a non-discriminatory and non-discriminatory name” for virushas mysteriously spread outside Africa in recent weeks.

A scientific paper published last week, signed by 29 experts, used the term “hMPXV” in place of monkeypox and called for a “rapid decision and adoption of a new name”. .

They said continuing to refer to the virus “as African is not only inaccurate but also stigmatizing and discriminatory”.

The scientists added that a “neutral, non-discriminatory and non-discriminatory” name would be more appropriate for the global medical community”.

The WHO’s director-general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said on Tuesday that the organization was “working with partners and experts from around the world to change the name” of the monkeypox virus.

“We will make an announcement about the new names as soon as possible,” he added.

Dr Neil Stone, an infectious disease specialist at University College London Hospital, tweeted he was “delighted to hear that WHO is ‘working to change the virus’ not yet widely known name'”.

This virus is called monkeypox because it was first identified in two groups of monkeys in the laboratory in 1958.

It has since been identified in a number of wild monkey species in parts of Africa, but rodents are thought to be the main source of infection for human outbreaks in endemic areas.

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On Tuesday, the WHO said it was convening an emergency committee to determine whether the expanding monkeypox outbreak should be considered a global health emergency.

Dr Ghebreyesus said he convened the meeting on June 23 because the virus had been showing “unusual” behavior recently by spreading in countries further away than parts of Africa, where it is currently spreading. circulate.

“We don’t want to wait until the situation gets out of control,” said WHO Emergencies Director for Africa, Ibrahima Socé Fall.

Declaring monkeypox an international health emergency would have the same indication as COVID-19 pandemic and means that WHO considers the often rare disease a continuing threat to countries around the globe.

There have been 1,600 confirmed and 1,500 suspected cases of monkeypox this year across 39 countries, with 72 deaths reported, the WHO said.

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However, no deaths have been recorded in the newly affected countries, including the UK, Canada, Italy, Poland, Spain and the US.

total 470 cases of monkeypox have been confirmed in the UKwith the vast majority of gay or bisexual men.

Last week, British scientists said they could not tell if the spread of the disease in the UK had peaked.

WHO has now released new guidelines for monkeypox vaccination, saying it does not recommend mass vaccination.

It said the control of the disease is mainly based on measures such as surveillance, case tracking and patient isolation.

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Monkeypox causes flu-like symptoms and skin lesions, and is spread by close contact.

According to the WHO, it is thought to be fatal in about 3-6% of cases, although no deaths have been reported in the outbreak outside of Africa.

The majority of deaths this year have been in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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Last month, a top WHO adviser said outbreaks in Europe and beyond were likely sexually transmitted at two recent outbreaks in Spain and Belgium.

Scientists warn that anyone, regardless of sexual orientation, is susceptible to monkeypox if they come into close contact with an infected person or their clothing or bed sheets.

WHO has been working to create a mechanism by which some vaccines against smallpox – a related disease – could be made available to affected countries, as research into the effectiveness of the vaccine continues. them for new outbreaks.

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