WHO lands on new name for monkeypox

The World Health Organization will rename monkeypox "MPOX" in an effort to destigmatize the virus amid growing pressure from senior Biden administration officials, Politico reported Nov. 22. 

The name was finalized Nov. 28 in a WHO press release sent to Becker's. The names "monkeypox" and "mpox" will be used simultaneously for a year while the original name is phased out. 

The WHO announced the possible name change over the summer in a move to reduce stigma and racism surrounding the virus. 

According to Politico, the Biden administration was concerned the stigma surrounding the virus's name was negatively impacting the vaccination campaign that started over the summer. 

After the name change was announced, the Biden administration offered its support for the decision. 

"We welcome the change by the World Health Organization. We must do all we can to break down barriers to public health, and reducing stigma associated with disease is one critical step in our work to end mpox," U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a press release sent to Becker's.

The U.S. has recorded nearly 30,000 infections of MPOX, according to the CDC, but with the availability of vaccinations, cases have fallen from a high of more than 400 cases per day over the summer to fewer than 20 cases per day nationally. 

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