30 scientists wrote a letter to WHO, asking for a name change as MonkeyPox could stir racist and stigmatized associations. WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced on the 14th, that the organization will be working upon this change with partners and experts around the world. The name MonkeyPox also goes against the guidelines that geographical or animal based names should not be given to the disease.
Monkeypox is spreading its way into the world by affecting over 1,600 people in more than two dozen countries. It was first seen in the US and allegedly was found in Canada. But, the continued reference to and the nomenclature being African is inaccurate, racist and discriminatory. The media is also to blame as it is focusing on sharing images of Africans when showing monkeypox. The Foreign Press Association, Africa has also appealed to Western media with a request to stop using such images as like any other disease, monkeypox can affect anyone in any part of the world, irrespective of what race or country they are from.
Subtly naming it as an African virus, is offensive and misleading.
As of now, WHO lists two district strains of monkeypox on its website: the central African (Congo Basin) clade and the west African clade, again posing the disease as African which is unfair and racist. It was suggested by opponents that WHO rename the strains of the virus with numbers.
The origin of the disease is still unknown, though it could be linked to rodents, according to the Center for Disease Control. (CDC)
Monkey-pox is called so because the disease was first seen in 1958, in laboratory monkeys when two outbreaks occurred in monkey colonies. The first human case was later seen in 1970 in The Democratic Republic of the Congo. The most common symptoms of MonkeyPox are fever, headache, fatigue, and muscle aches.