World Health Organisation set to rename monkeypox after scientists claim name is racist

It comes after more than 30 scientists across the world urged for an 'urgent' name change

Published

The World Health Organisation is set to officially rename the monkeypox virus amid concerns that its current name is racist.

More than 30 scientists from across the world said earlier this month the monkeypox name is discriminatory and stigmatising, adding that there was an “urgent” need to rename it.

World Health Organisation's Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
World Health Organisation's Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
A Generic Photo of monkeypox rash
A Generic Photo of monkeypox rash

And now WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that WHO is working with partners on changing the name of monkeypox and its variants.

While The WHO will convene an emergency committee on Thursday next week to assess whether the monkeypox outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern, WHO Dr Ghebreyesus said.

That is the highest level of warning issued by the UN agency, which currently applies only to the COVID-19 pandemic and polio.

There have been 1,600 confirmed and 1,500 suspected cases of monkeypox this year and 72 deaths, WHO said, in 39 countries, including the countries where the virus usually spreads.

In the UK, there was a total of 470 confirmed cases as of June 12.

There are currently 452 confirmed cases in England, 12 in Scotland, two in Northern Ireland and four in Wales.

Most cases so far have been in men who are gay, bisexual or have sex with men.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) advises that anyone with a rash with blisters should contact a sexual health clinic if they have also had close contact, including sexual contact, with someone who has or might have had monkeypox in the past three weeks, or if they have travelled to West or Central Africa in the past three weeks.