The World Health Organization (WHO) will hold an emergency meeting Thursday at its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, to determine a new name for monkeypox and determine whether its spread is an emergency of international concern.
More than 1,600 confirmed cases of monkeypox and nearly 1,500 suspected cases have been reported this year from seven countries where monkeypox has been detected for years and 32 newly affected countries, according to WHO Director General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Before this outbreak, monkeypox was only seen in areas of central and western Africa.
The virus is not considered overly dangerous, but pregnant women and children may be at risk.
British officials have told those suffering from monkey pox to abstain from sex in hopes of stopping the spread of the disease. https://t.co/x9WkcWK7C3
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) June 1, 2022
Tedros told the United Nations that the “global outbreak of monkeypox is clearly unusual and worrying”.
He believes that international coordination is necessary to prevent the virus from spreading.
He also pledged to push for the urgent name change to allay concerns about the stigma and racism associated with the word, as Breitbart News reported†
Ibrahima Socé Fall, WHO’s deputy director for emergency aid, has informed the UN that the virus is spreading faster across Europe, while other countries consider the risk to be moderate.
As for the name change, a group of scientists recently said in a statement to virological.com that the time has come to end stigmatizing people from Africa. They said:
In the context of the current global outbreak, the continued reference to and nomenclature of this virus being African is not only inaccurate, but also discriminatory and stigmatizing. The most obvious manifestation of this is the use of pictures of African patients to portray the smallpox lesions in the mainstream media in the north of the world.
Recently, the Foreign Press Association, Africa, released a statement calling on the global media to stop using images of African people to highlight the outbreak in Europe.
The Foreign Press Association, Africa expresses its dismay at media using images of black people alongside stories about the #monkeypox outbreak in North America and the United Kingdom. pic.twitter.com/u32yWLELJg
— FOREIGN PRESS ASSOCIATION, AFRICA (@FPA_Africa) May 21, 2022
Oyewale Tomori, a virologist at Redeemer’s University in Nigeria, said he supported changing the name of the monkeypox clades, as did other colleagues in Africa itself.
“But even the name Monkeypox is different. It’s not the right name,” he said told wire service AFP.
“If I were a monkey I would protest because it’s not really a monkey disease.”
Monkeypox, according to a description on the WHO website, “is a zoonosis: a disease that is transmitted from animals to humans.”