The World Health Organization (WHO) announced that “mpox” is now the preferred name for monkeypox.
“Both names will be used simultaneously for one year while ‘monkeypox’ is phased out,” the organization said on Monday in a statement.
Monkeypox was named in 1970, more than a decade after the virus that causes the disease was discovered in captive monkeys, the organization said. But monkeypox probably didn’t start in monkeys – its origin is still unknown – and the virus can be found in several other kinds of animals. The name was created before WHO published best practices for naming diseases in 2015.
In August, WHO encouraged people to propose new names for monkeypox by submitting suggestions to it website. WHO said Monday that the consultation process included experts from medical, scientific, classification and statistics advisory committees “which constituted of representatives from government authorities of 45 different countries.”
“The issue of the use of the new name in different languages was extensively discussed. The preferred term mpox can be used in other languages,” WHO said in its statement.
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