WHO renames monkeypox to “MPOX”.

WHO has traditionally acted as the global coordinator on public health issues, including declaring international health emergencies and recommending names for diseases, which are then adopted by individual countries.

But the Biden administration has been concerned for months that the name of the virus is increasing stigma — especially among people of color — and that the slow move toward a new designation is hampering the vaccination campaign that began in the summer, people familiar with the matter said.

The WHO did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The White House declined to comment.

Public health experts and LGBT activists had similarly called for dropping the virus’s name, which it was given after its discovery in 1958, given its widespread spread last spring. They argued that the term “monkeypox” was imprecise, conformed to racial stereotypes about Africa and detrimental to the global response.

“In the context of the current global outbreak, the continued reference to and nomenclature of this virus as African is not only inaccurate but also discriminatory and stigmatizing,” a group of scientists wrote in a joint statement released in June.

The virus, which will soon be known as MPOX, began spreading rapidly in the US in May, catching health officials by surprise and spurring a nationwide push to bring the outbreak under control. The White House took over management of the response in August and appointed two monkeypox response coordinators.

The US has recorded nearly 30,000 infections during the outbreak, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with the virus overwhelmingly affecting the community of men who have sex with men.

But, helped by the government’s vaccination push, the initial crisis appears to have abated, with new cases falling precipitously from a peak of more than 400 a day in the summer to daily national teenage case numbers over the last week.

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