Use ‘Mpox’ as Synonym to ‘Monkeypox’: WHO

According to reports, few racist and stigmatizing languages were reported to the organization when the disease outbreak grew earlier this year.
WHO’s Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
WHO’s Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

The World Health Organisation (WHO) announced on Monday that it will use ‘mpox’ use to denote ‘monkeypox’.

WHO said, “Following a series of consultations with global experts, WHO will begin using a new preferred term “mpox” as a synonym for monkeypox. Both names will be used simultaneously for one year while “monkeypox” is phased out.”

According to reports, few racist and stigmatizing languages were reported to the organization when the disease outbreak grew earlier this year.

These incidents were noticed online and in some communities due to which several people and nations raised their concerns and urged WHO to suggest a way to move forward to change the name.

Based on consultations and further discussions with WHO’s Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the organization recommended the following:

  • Adoption of the new synonym mpox in English for the disease.

  • Mpox will become a preferred term, replacing monkeypox, after a transition period of one year. This serves to mitigate the concerns raised by experts about confusion caused by a name change in the midst of a global outbreak. It also gives time to complete the ICD update process and to update WHO publications.  

  • The synonym mpox will be included in the ICD-10 online in the coming days. It will be a part of the official 2023 release of ICD-11, which is the current global standard for health data, clinical documentation and statistical aggregation.

  • The term “monkeypox” will remain a searchable term in ICD, to match historic information.

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It may be noted that since May, cases of monekypox were reported in countries where the disease is not endemic and continue to be reported in several endemic countries.

Most reported cases so far have been identified through sexual health or other health services in primary or secondary health-care facilities and have involved mainly, but not exclusively, men who have sex with men. Last month, WHO said that Monkeypox continues to meet the International Health Regulations (IHR) criteria for a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).

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