The World Health Organization (WHO) announced today a new name that has been chosen to replace monkeypox–mpox.
Both names will be used simultaneously for one year while “monkeypox” is phased out.
WHO is responsible for assigning names to new and existing diseases.
A number of individuals and countries raised concerns about racist and stigmatizing language online and in other settings earlier this year to the WHO.
WHO recommends 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.
Human monkeypox was given its name in 1970 (after the virus that causes the disease was discovered in captive monkeys in 1958).
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