WHO: Monkeypox will now be known as mpox

Geneva: In an effort to tackle the stigma attached to the current name, the World Health Organization on Monday announced that monkeypox will now be called mpox in English.

The virus that causes monkeypox was first discovered in 1958 in Danish research monkeys, hence the name. However, rodents are the animals most commonly affected by the disease.

WHO will begin using the new preferred term "mpox" as a synonym for monkeypox after a series of consultations with international experts. The United Nations Health Agency announced in a statement that, while "monkeypox" is phased out, both names will be used concurrently for one year.

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To minimize potential negative effects from both the adoption of the new name and the continued use of the old name, WHO will use the term "mpox" in its communications and encourage others to do the same.

The disease was first identified in humans in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1970, and since then, human transmission has mainly been confined to a small number of endemic West and Central African countries.

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However, in May, cases of the disease, which causes fever, muscle aches, and large skin lesions similar to boils, began spreading rapidly around the world, mostly among men who have sex with other men.

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This year, 110 countries have reported 81,107 cases and 55 deaths to WHO.

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