The World Health Organization, which is seeking to rename monkeypox, has called for help from the public in coming up with a less stigmatizing designation for the fast-spreading disease.
The United Nations health agency has for weeks voiced concerns about the name of the disease that hit the global stage in May.
Experts warn that the name could be stigmatizing for the primates for which it is named, but who have played little role in its spread and for the African continent on which the animal species This is often related.
For example, recently in Brazil, there were reports of people attacking monkeys out of fear of disease.
WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib told reporters in Geneva: “Human smallpox was named before there were current best practices in naming the disease.”
“We really wanted to come up with a name that doesn’t discriminate,” she added, adding that the consultation is now open to everyone through dedicated website.
Monkeypox received its name because the virus was originally identified in monkeys raised for research in Denmark in 1958, but the disease has been found in several animal species, and most often in rodents.
The disease was first detected in humans in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with human spread since then largely limited to a few West and Central African countries where the disease is endemic.
But in May, cases of the illness, which causes fever, muscle aches and large boil-like skin lesions, began to spread rapidly around the world, mainly among men who had sex with men. gender.
Worldwide, more than 31,000 cases have been confirmed since the start of the year and 12 people have died, according to WHO, which has designated the outbreak a global health emergency.
Although the virus can be transmitted from animals to humans, WHO experts confirm the recent global spread is due to close contact transmission between people.
Last week, the United Nations health agency announced that a panel of experts it had convened had agreed on a new name for variants of the monkeypox virus.
To date, the two main variants are named after the geographical areas in which they are known to end, the Congo Basin and West Africa.
Experts agreed to rename them using Roman numerals, calling them Clade I and Clade II. A sub-variant of Clade II, now known as Clade IIb, is considered the main culprit behind the ongoing global outbreak.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from an aggregated feed.)