LONDON (AP) – The World Health Organization is renaming monkeypox as mpox, citing concerns the original name of the decades-old animal disease could be construed as discriminatory and racist.
The U.N. health agency said Monday that mpox was its new preferred name for monkeypox, saying that both monkeypox and mpox would be used for the next year while the old name is phased out.
To date, there have been more than 80,000 cases identified in dozens of countries that have not previously reported the smallpox-related disease.
Until May, monkeypox was not known to trigger large outbreaks beyond central and west Africa.
It appears to be the first time the agency has attempted to rechristen a disease decades after it was first named.