Senior Biden officials who have been pressuring the World Health Organization to rename monkeypox have succeeded in their efforts. Monkeypox has been rebranded MPOX. The White House requested the name change because of its racist connotation.
The name change proposal was met with some opposition. Some health experts argued that the name change could cause confusion and make it more difficult to track the disease. However, the administration argued that the name change was necessary in order to remove the stigma associated with "monkeypox. "
The original name of monkeypox was chosen based on the fact that the disease is commonly found in monkeys. The new name, MPOX, is more representative of the fact that the disease can affect humans as well.
Public health experts and LGBT activists had similarly called for abandoning the virus' name, which it received upon its discovery in 1958, since it began spreading widely this past spring. They argued that calling it the monkeypox is imprecise, plays into racist stereotypes about Africa and is detrimental to the global response.
"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," a group of scientists wrote in a joint statement published in June.