Find out why monkey pox will change its name

The World Health Organization (WHO) has decided to rename the monkeypox virus that has spread to nearly 30 countries with more than 1,600 cases. The move is a result of concerns raised by a group of international scientists about the “discriminatory” nature of the names of the virus strains.

Tedros Adhanom, director-general of the WHO, announced on Tuesday that the organization is “working with partners and experts from around the world to change the name of the monkeypox virus, its subtypes and the disease it causes” and that it will announce new names as soon as possible.

monkey pox

Monkeypox disease (monkeypox) was named before the WHO developed guidelines that recommend not using geographic regions or animal names for diseases or viruses, with the aim of minimizing the negative impact.

The WHO currently lists two distinct strains of monkeypox on its website: the Central African (Congo Basin) strain and the West African strain.

In their paper, the scientists argued that referring to the virus as “African” is “not only inaccurate, but also discriminatory.” They raised concerns about a “growing narrative in the media” that the current outbreak is linked to Africa using these names.

Name origin

Monkeypox virus (monkeypox) was first discovered in 1958, when two outbreaks of a smallpox-like disease occurred in laboratory monkeys kept for research, hence the name.

monkey pox

Credit: BeritK/istock The virus was first discovered in laboratory monkeys kept for research

However, monkeys may not be to blame for the outbreaks, and the natural reservoir of monkeypox remains unknown, although the WHO says rodents are the most likely.

The first human case was identified in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1970. The virus has been reported in several other African countries, although most infections are in the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

In recent years, cases have been reported outside Africa, with links to travel or imported animals, including in the United States, Israel, Singapore and the United Kingdom, according to the CDC.

Cases of the current outbreak first emerged in May in the UK, Portugal and Spain.

How is monkeypox transmitted?

Basically, monkeypox is spread when someone has close contact with an infected person.

The virus has some known ports of entry; they are: lesions on the skin, eyes, nose and mouth.

Therefore, transmission can occur from direct contact with the blisters on the skin, characteristics of the disease, through the coughing or sneezing of infected people and also through contact with bedding with contaminated fluids.


Credit: Berkay Ataseven/istockBlisters on the skin uncharacteristic of monkeypox

Although it is being investigated, the virus has not yet been described as a sexually transmitted disease. However, it can be passed on during sexual intercourse by the proximity between people and skin-to-skin contact.

The period of transmission of the disease ends when the crusts of the lesions disappear.

Symptoms of Monkey Smallpox

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the symptoms of monkeypox are similar but milder than the symptoms of smallpox. They often include fever, chills, a rash, as well as swollen lymph nodes.

The rash associated with monkeypox can be confused with other diseases, such as secondary syphilis, herpes, and varicella-zoster.

The incubation period (time from infection to symptoms) of monkeypox is usually 7 to 14 days, but can range from 5 to 21 days.

About Abhishek Pratap

Food maven. Unapologetic travel fanatic. MCU's fan. Infuriatingly humble creator. Award-winning pop culture ninja.

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