The World Health Organization (WHO) is set to change the name of the monkeypox virus to “MPOX.”
The change in nomenclature is an attempt to destigmatize the virus at the behest of President Biden’s administration, according to a report from Politico that cited three anonymous sources with knowledge of the matter.
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Sources said that senior Biden officials have consistently urged the WHO to make the name change and have threatened to adopt new terminology without WHO’s approval.
According to the report, Biden administration believes that the name “monkeypox” carries an unnecessary stigma for people of color.
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The monkeypox outbreak continues to represent a global health emergency, which is the WHO’s highest level of alert, the U.N. agency’s Emergency Committee said at the beginning of November.
The WHO label, a “public health emergency of international concern”, is designed to trigger a coordinated international response and could unlock funding to collaborate on sharing vaccines and treatments.
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The U.S. has seen approximately 29,200 cases of monkeypox total within its borders.
The CDC states, “At this time, data suggest that gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men make up the majority of cases in the current monkeypox outbreak. However, anyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, who has been in close, personal contact with someone who has monkeypox is at risk. Take steps to prevent getting monkeypox. If you have any symptoms of monkeypox, talk to a healthcare provider.”
Reuters contributed to this report.