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Monkeypox: WHO Renames Disease

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that monkeypox will now be known as ‘mpox’, following concerns raised by individuals and countries over the racist and stigmatizing language associated with naming the disease monkeypox. The organization said both names will be used simultaneously together for one year while monkeypox is phased out. This was disclosed in a statement issued by WHO on Monday, which stated that global experts were consulted before the new name was decided upon.

The statement reads, “Assigning names to new and very exceptionally, to existing diseases is the responsibility of the WHO under the International Classification of Disease (ICD) and the WHO Family of International Health Related Classifications through a consultative process which includes WHO Member States.

“The WHO, in accordance with the ICD update process, held consultations to gather views from a range of experts, as well as countries and the general public, who were invited to submit suggestions for new names.

“The synonym ‘mpox’ will be included in the ICD-10 online in the coming days. It will be a part of the official 2023 release of ICD-11, which is the current global standard for health data, clinical documentation, and statistical aggregation.

“Various advisory bodies were heard during the consultation process including experts from the medical and scientific and classification and statistics advisory committees which was constituted of representatives from government authorities of 45 different countries.

“The issue of the use of the new name in different languages was extensively discussed. The preferred term ‘mpox’ can be used in other languages.”

The global wealth body also stated that the new name will be used in its communications and also advised others to do the same “to minimize any ongoing negative impact of the current name and from the adoption of the new name”.