To evaluate the international outbreak of monkeypox and determine whether the virus should be considered a global health emergency. Officials from the World Health Organization will gather in an emergency session next week.
The WHO is also set to officially rename the monkeypox after scientists raised concerns that the name “monkeypox” is racist, officials said.
Here’s what WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced at a press briefing Tuesday:
“WHO is also working with partners and experts from around the world on changing the name of monkeypox virus.”
“We will make announcements about the new names as soon as possible.”
Following a letter from 30 scientists calling for change last week, the WHO is overseeing a review. Referring to the sickness as “African” is “discriminatory and stigmatizing,” the experts said.
“Given the increasingly rapid communication of, and attention to, the international human MPXV outbreak, it is important to consider an appropriate, non-discriminatory, and non-stigmatizing nomenclature and classification of MPXV clades,” part of the letter states.
Other groups of organisms with the same genetic structure are referred to as viral clades.
“In the context of the current global outbreak, continued reference to, and nomenclature of this virus being African is not only inaccurate but is also discriminatory and stigmatizing. The most obvious manifestation of this is the use of photos of African patients to depict the pox lesions in mainstream media in the global north. Recently, Foreign Press Association, Africa issued a statement urging the global media to stop using images of African people to highlight the outbreak in Europe.”
The scientists propose “a novel classification of MPXV that is non-discriminatory and non-stigmatizing and aligned with best practices in naming of infectious diseases in a way that minimizes unnecessary negative impacts on nations, geographic regions, economies and people and that considers the evolution and spread of the virus.”
In an email to Bloomberg News, a WHO representative said that illness names “should be done with the goal of minimizing the negative impact and without offending any cultural, social, national, regional, professional, or ethnic groups.”
According to Bloomberg, the WHO will engage with experts in orthopoxviruses, which include monkeypox, to come up with more appropriate names.
Ghebreyesus also stated on Tuesday that the U.N. The emergency committee of the health department will meet on June 23 to discuss the epidemic, which he described as “unusual and concerning.”
Here’s what Tedros said during a media briefing:
“For that reason, I have decided to convene the Emergency Committee under the international Health Regulations next week, to assess whether this outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern.”
More than 1,600 confirmed cases and over 1,500 suspected cases of monkeypox have been recorded this year from 39 countries, including seven previously unaffected nations and 32 newly affected countries, the WHO director-general stated.
“So far this year, 72 deaths have been reported from previously affected countries. No deaths have been reported so far from the newly affected countries, although WHO is seeking to verify news reports from Brazil of a monkeypox-related death there.”