The World Health Organization (WHO) announced that it is working with scientists to develop a new name for the monkeypox virus that will not be “discriminatory and stigmatizing,” an effort to employ “woke” ideals in virology.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of WHO announced on Tuesday that the organization was “working with partners and experts from around the world on changing the name of monkeypox virus, its clades and the disease it causes.”
Naming diseases “should be done with the aim to minimize the negative impact and avoid causing offense to any cultural, social, national, regional, professional or ethnic groups,” according to one WHO representative who spoke to Bloomberg.
The move comes after more than two dozen scientists wrote last week that there was an “urgent need for a non-discriminatory and non-stigmatizing nomenclature for monkeypox virus.”
In a letter published online, the scientists said the new terminology would be “aligned with best practices in the naming of infectious diseases in a way that minimizes unnecessary negative impacts on nations, geographic regions, economies and people and that considers the evolution and spread of the virus.”
The Foreign Press Association, Africa registers its displeasure against media outlets using images of black people alongside stories of the #monkeypox outbreak in North America and the United Kingdom. pic.twitter.com/u32yWLELJg
— The Foreign Press Association, Africa—FPAA. (@FPA_Africa) May 21, 2022
“In the context of the current global outbreak, continued reference to, and nomenclature of this virus being African is not only inaccurate but is also discriminatory and stigmatizing,” they said.
The health agency is also holding an emergency meeting next week to determine whether to classify the outbreak as a public health emergency.