Health

Monkeypox: WHO renames virus variants to avoid ‘causing offence’

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has approved new names for different variants of viruses causing the Monkeypox disease.

The new names, recommended by some global experts, use Roman numerals.

The former Congo Basin (Central African) clade will now be known as Clade one (I) while the former West African clade will now be known as Clade two (II). The latter consists of two subclades.

The global body in a statement on its website stated that the development was part of the ongoing efforts to align the names of monkeypox disease, variants or clades with current best practices.

It further explained that the current best practice is that newly-identified viruses, related diseases, and virus variants should be given names to avoid causing any cultural or social offence.

“Assigning new names to existing diseases is the responsibility of WHO under the International Classification of Diseases and the WHO Family of International Health Related Classifications (WHO-FIC),” it noted.

WHO said the new names for the clades will take effect immediately while it is consulting the public for a new disease name for monkeypox.

“WHO is holding an open consultation for a new disease name for monkeypox. Anyone wishing to propose new names can do so here,” it said.

About Monkeypox
According to WHO, the Monkeypox virus was first discovered in laboratory monkeys — hence the name — in a Copenhagen research facility in 1958.

Human Monkeypox was first identified 12 years later in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo in a nine-month-old boy in a region where smallpox had been eliminated in 1968.

Since 1970, human cases of Monkeypox have been reported in 11 African countries: Benin, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Nigeria, the Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone and South Sudan.

In 2003, the first Monkeypox outbreak outside of Africa was in the United States of America and was linked to contact with infected pet prairie dogs.

In May 2022, multiple cases of Monkeypox were identified in several non-endemic countries.

According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 31,799 monkey cases have now been reported across 89 countries as of 12 August 2022. (Premium Times)
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