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Home » World » WHO to use new synonym ‘mpox’ for monkeypox disease

WHO to use new synonym ‘mpox’ for monkeypox disease

Both names will be used concurrently for one year while the term "monkeypox" is phased out.

By Newsd
Published on :
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Following a series of consultations with global experts, WHO will begin using a new preferred term for monkeypox, “mpox.” Both names will be used concurrently for one year while the term “monkeypox” is phased out.

When the monkeypox outbreak spread earlier this year, racist and stigmatising language was observed and reported to WHO online, in other settings, and in some communities. Several individuals and countries raised concerns and asked WHO to propose a way forward to change the name at several public and private meetings.

WHO is responsible for naming new and, in rare cases, existing diseases under the International Classification of Diseases (ICD) and the WHO Family of International Health-Related Classifications through a consultative process involving WHO Member States.

In accordance with the ICD update process, WHO held consultations to gather input from a variety of experts, countries, and the general public, who were invited to submit suggestions for new names. WHO recommends the following based on these consultations and additional discussions with WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus:

Adoption of the disease’s new English synonym, mpox.

After a one-year transition period, Mpox will replace monkeypox as the preferred term. This helps to alleviate experts’ concerns about confusion caused by a name change in the midst of a global outbreak. It also allows for the completion of the ICD update process and the updating of WHO publications.

In the coming days, the synonym mpox will be added to the ICD-10 online. It will be included in the official ICD-11 release in 2023, which is the current global standard for health data, clinical documentation, and statistical aggregation.

To match historical data, the term “monkeypox” will remain a searchable term in ICD.

The rationale, scientific appropriateness, extent of current usage, pronounceability, usability in different languages, absence of geographical or zoological references, and ease of retrieval of historical scientific information were all factors considered for the recommendations.

The ICD updating process can typically take several years. In this case, the process was accelerated while still adhering to the standard steps.

During the consultation process, various advisory bodies were heard, including experts from the medical and scientific advisory committees, as well as the classification and statistics advisory committees, which were made up of representatives from government authorities from 45 different countries.

The use of the new name in different languages was extensively debated. In other languages, the preferred term mpox can be used. If additional naming issues arise, the same mechanism will be used to address them. Translations are typically discussed informally with relevant government authorities and scientific societies.

WHO will use the term mpox in its communications and encourages others to do the same in order to reduce the ongoing negative impact of the current name and the adoption of the new name.


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