The World Health Organization (WHO) is working with a group of experts to define a new name for monkeypox (monkeypox), advances the BBC.
This is after 30 scientists, including four Portuguese from the Instituto Nacional de Saúde Doutor Ricardo Jorge (INSA), have published a joint article where they warn of the “urgent need” to find a “non-discriminatory and non-stigmatizing name” for the virus and the disease it causes.
“In the context of the current global outbreak, the continued reference and naming of this virus being African is not only inaccurate, but also discriminatory and stigmatizing. The most obvious manifestation of this is the use of photos of African patients to portray smallpox lesions in the media. Recently, the African Foreign Press Association issued a statement asking the media to stop using images of Africans to highlight the outbreak in Europe.”
In this sense, they appeal, it is necessary to find “a practical and neutral nomenclature system” that allows “efficient communication without the risk of further misunderstandings, discrimination and stigmatization”.
With more than 1,600 confirmed cases in 32 countries, the WHO will next week assess whether the monkeypox outbreak represents an international public health emergency.
The director-general of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, decided to convene the organization’s Emergency Committee due to the fact that the virus “is behaving in an unusual way”, due to the growing number of countries with confirmed cases of infection and the need of a coordinated response, taking into account the geographic spread that the disease currently registers.
This is the sixth time that the WHO Emergency Committee has met to assess the risk of a disease. In the past, the same alert was motivated by Covid-19, Zika, Ebola, polio and swine flu.
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