W.H.O. Seeks Public Help in Quest to Rename ‘Discriminatory and Stigmatising’ Monkeypox Virus 

What’s in a name? William Shakespeare posed the question in Romeo and Juliet. Now the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) seeks help in its quest to rename the monkeypox virus and spare victims from “discriminatory and stigmatising” impacts associated with the nomenclature.

On Friday the U.N. subsidiary announced it was setting up an open public forum to achieve that goal.

W.H.O. outlined the decision was made after the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) met with its representatives.

Together they will work to identify best practices for naming new human diseases to “avoid causing offence to any cultural, social, national, regional, professional, or ethnic groups, and minimise any negative impact on trade, travel, tourism or animal welfare.”

The U.N. health agency said in the interim it has also renamed two families, or clades, of the keypoxvirus, using Roman numerals instead of geographic areas, to avoid adverse connotations around the name.


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