Renaming Monkeypox to Mpox


The World Health Organization (WHO) made the announcement today.

monkeypox to mpox

The WHO announced it has recommended changing the name of monkeypox to mpox. Both names will be used simultaneously for one year while “monkeypox” is phased out.

The organization announced several months ago they were looking to rename the virus as it had some negative connotations and stigma associated with it. The WHO will adopt the term mpox in its communications, and encourages others to follow these recommendations, to minimize any ongoing negative impact of the current name and from adoption of the new name.

According to a WHO statement, the organization 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.

Assigning names to new and, very exceptionally, to existing diseases is the responsibility of WHO under the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) and the WHO Family of International Health Related Classifications through a consultative process which includes WHO Member States.

WHO, in accordance with the ICD update process, held consultations to gather views from a range of experts, as well as countries and the general public, who were invited to submit suggestions for new names.

Back in the summer, both the Biden Administration and the WHO declared monkeypox as public health emergencies as the incidence rates increased dramatically in different hot spots across the globe.

Although caseloads have been decreasing in the last several weeks, a public health concern remains as it is seemingly mysterious why the outbreak started earlier this year in the first place.

CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) developed a process to help clinicians secure an antiviral therapy, tecovirimat (Tpoxx), for monkeypox treatment. This falls under the expanded access investigational new drug (EA-IND). Clinicians can secure tecovirimat by going here.

Tecovirimat is manufactured by SIGA Technologies, and is approved for smallpox and is being studied for monkeypox treatment. Contagion spoke with SIGA Technologies Chief Scientific Officer Dennis Hruby, PhD, earlier this year about the therapy.

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