Monkeys to lose pox on their name
11:40 JST, December 9, 2022
GENEVA (AFP-Jiji) — Monkeypox is to be renamed mpox, the World Health Organization announced Nov. 28, in a bid to avoid stigmatization stemming from the existing name.
Monkeypox received its name because the virus was originally identified in monkeys kept for research in Denmark in 1958, but the disease is found in a number of animals, and most frequently in rodents.
A surge in monkeypox infections has been reported since early May among men who have sex with men, outside the African countries where it has long been endemic.
“When the outbreak of monkeypox expanded earlier this year, racist and stigmatizing language online, in other settings and in some communities was observed and reported to WHO,” the U.N. health agency said in a statement.
“Following a series of consultations with global experts, WHO will begin using a new preferred term ‘mpox’ as a synonym for monkeypox. Both names will be used simultaneously for one year while ‘monkeypox’ is phased out.”
The disease was first discovered in humans in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo, with the spread among humans since then mainly limited to certain West and Central African nations.
But in May, cases of the disease, which causes fever, muscular aches and large boil-like skin lesions, began spreading rapidly around the world.
The WHO triggered its highest level of alarm on July 24, classifying it as a public health emergency of international concern, alongside COVID-19.
The WHO announced in August it was looking for a new name for the virus, seeking suggestions from experts, countries and the public.
According to WHO’s best practices in disease naming adopted in 2015, names should aim to minimize unnecessary negative impact.
Considerations include scientific appropriateness, pronounceability, and usability in different languages.
“WHO will adopt the term mpox in its communications, and encourages others to follow these recommendations, to minimize any ongoing negative impact of the current name,” it said.
The one-year transition is to avoid confusion caused by changing the name in the midst of a global outbreak.
"SCIENCE & NATURE" POPULAR ARTICLE
G7 to Share Information on Invasive Alien Species; Members Agree to Create Database, Strengthen Research
Europe’s Euclid Space Telescope Releases First Images
Autonomous Driving Could Get ¥2.7 Billion Boost from Japanese Govt
Joby Shows Off Electric Air Taxis in New York
Astronaut Takuya Onishi Set for Long-Term ISS Mission Around 2025; Fellow Astronaut Yui’s Mission Pushed Back
JN ACCESS RANKING
- Exports of Nishikigoi Carp to China Halted; Permits for Japanese Aquaculture Facilities By China Have Expired
- Japan April-Sept. Current Account Surplus Hits Record High
- Japan 2023 Food Exports Reach 1 Tril. Yen at Record Pace
- 69.7 Bil. Yen in COVID-19 Loans to Small Businesses Uncollectible
- AI-generated Child Porn Floods Japan-based Website (Update 1)