Why will monkeypox change its name?

The World Health Organization (WHO) intends to change the name of monkeypox, a viral infection from the same family as common smallpox that has already spread to more than 30 countries, including Brazil.

Why can the name of the disease change?


According to the BBC News, the decision comes after more than 30 scientists pointed to the “urgent need for a (name for the disease and the virus) that is neither discriminatory nor stigmatizing”. According to the researchers, who suggested the name hMPXV, several incorrect references are classifying the disease as African.

Why will monkeypox change its name? Image: Lightspring – Shutterstock

Where did monkeypox come from?

According to information from the Butantan Institute, the first case of monkey pox was recorded in a colony of monkeys kept for research in Denmark (curiously in Europe), in mid-1958. The first human case of this variant was recorded in 1970, in a child in Congo, and later in other African countries.

Because it is considered endemic (permanently present in a region) in tropical forest areas in Central and West Africa, many people associate the virus only with these regions, however, the disease has already caused outbreaks in other places – as is currently the case. .

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The first time the virus was seen outside of Africa was in 2003 in the US. At the time, 81 cases were recorded, but no deaths. The biggest outbreak to date was from Nigeria in 2017, when 172 suspected cases were reported.

It is not yet clear what caused the current cases of the disease that reaches Europe, North America and Australia. Scientists are betting on two hypotheses: mutation of the virus or reduction in vaccination coverage for smallpox (which has been considered eradicated in the world since 1980).

With the situation considered unusual by many experts, the WHO will discuss this month the possibility of classifying the outbreak as a “public health emergency of international concern”. The same happened with H1N1 (2009), polio (2014), Zika (2016), Ebola (2019) and Covid (2020).

It is worth remembering that, the same happened with the arrival of mutations of the Covid-19 virus, when the WHO decided to give a proper name to each strain, avoiding stigmas related to the countries where the variants were found. Remember the case here.

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About Jenni Smith

She's our PC girl, so anything is up to her. She is also responsible for the videos of Play Crazy Game, as well as giving a leg in the news.

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