Both names will be used simultaneously for one year while “monkeypox” is phased out.
"When the outbreak of monkeypox expanded earlier this year, racist and stigmatizing language online, in other settings and in some communities was observed and reported to WHO," the United Nations (UN) Agency said in a media release on Monday.
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"In several meetings, public and private, a number of individuals and countries raised concerns and asked WHO to propose a way forward to change the name," it stated.
Assigning names to new and, very exceptionally, to existing diseases is the responsibility of WHO under the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) and the WHO Family of International Health Related Classifications through a consultative process which includes WHO Member States.
WHO will adopt the term mpox in its communications, and encourages others to follow these recommendations, to minimize any ongoing negative impact of the current name and from adoption of the new name.
Human monkeypox was given its name in 1970 (after the virus that causes the disease was discovered in captive monkeys in 1958), before the publication of WHO best practices in naming diseases, published in 2015.
According to these best practices, new disease names should be given with the aim to minimize unnecessary negative impact of names on trade, travel, tourism or animal welfare, and avoid causing offence to any cultural, social, national, regional, professional or ethnic groups.