World Health Organization seeks suggestions for new name for monkeypox

The WHO wants to find a name that is not stigmatizing. (Photo: WHO/Disclosure)

The World Health Organization (WHO) wants to rename the disease known as monkeypox and has asked the public to help find a less stigmatizing designation for the fast-spreading disease.

The organization has been concerned for weeks about the name of the disease, which was discovered in humans in 1970 in Africa and remained confined to that continent until May, when it spread globally entire.

Experts warn that the current name could be stigmatizing for the African continent and for the primates, which gave it the name but play little role in its spread. Recently, cases have been reported in Brazil of people attacking monkeys for fear of disease.

“Monkeypox received its name before current disease naming practices,” WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib told reporters in Geneva. “We really want to find a name that is not stigmatizing.”


Monkeypox is so named because the virus was originally identified in monkeys kept for research in Denmark in 1958, but the disease is found in a number of animals, most commonly rodents.

The disease was first discovered in humans in the 1970s in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with human-to-human spread since then mainly limited to certain countries in West and Central Africa, where it is endemic.

Although the virus can jump from animals to humans, WHO experts insist that the recent spread is due to transmission through close contact between humans.

The WHO announced last week that a group of experts had already agreed on possible new names for variants, or clades, of the monkeypox virus.

a visa

The National Health Surveillance Agency (Anvisa) published this Friday (19) the import of medicines and vaccines against monkeypox (monkey pox) without registration in Brazil. The measure was approved on an exceptional and temporary basis.

The measure does not actually exempt registration, but establishes a way to allow monkeypox products into the country more quickly.

The directors of the agency voted unanimously in favor of abolishing registration for imports.

Approval means:

— the Ministry of Health can ask the Agency to waive the registration of medicines and vaccines already approved in other countries;

— the conditions of the drug or vaccine must be the same as those approved by other regulatory bodies;

— the request for exemption from registration will be evaluated, in priority, by the technical areas of Anvisa and the decision must be taken within 7 working days;

— the measure simplifies the analysis of documents and facilitates the population’s access to drugs or vaccines.