Monkeypox renamed mpox over racism concerns: WHO

Photo by WHO/

The UN health agency says they prefer the new name due to the “racist and stigmatizing language” after monkeypox spread in over 100 countries 

The World Health Organization (WHO) has decided to rename the virus “monkeypox to mpox”. According to a report by Associated Press on Monday, November 28, the UN health organization has decided to change the name of the virus on ground that the word could be constructed as “discrimination and racist”.  

The statement made by the WHO said that the new name mpox was its preferred name for monkeypox and added that both the names will be used for next year, while they phase out the old one gradually. It said, the WHO was concerned about the “racist and stigmatizing language” that came out after the spread of the virus in over 100 countries.  

The report said, several countries as well as individuals had approached the organization to propose a way to change the name. By August, the WHO had already started consulting experts to change it to mpox. This was just before they announced the spread of the virus was a global emergency.  

Until now over 80,000 cases of the virus have been reported globally in countries that have never previously reported them. The report also said, until May 2022, no records were found of a large outbreak of this virus outside Central and West Africa.

The original name monkeypox was first kept for the virus in 1958, after monkeys under research in Denmark were detected to have a pox like disease.

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