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renaming health agencies

Adopting a long-awaited renaming recommendation by the World Health Organization announced earlier on Monday, the Biden administration plans to officially switch what it once called “monkeypox” to the new name “mpox.” refers to how to use “.

as the case current outbreak Earlier this year, the WHO began the process of renaming the disease and its virus variants. Many advocates and countries have raised concerns over the stigmatizing use of the racist and outdated name, which was first given to the disease following a 1958 outbreak among Danish laboratory monkeys.

It is actually wild rodents – not monkeys – that have been observed mostly harboring the virus in the wild, and are suspected to be the culprit behind many “spillover” infections from animals to humans. Imported domesticated prairie dogs were blamed for the last significant US outbreak in 2003.

The Department of Health and Human Services praised the WHO’s decision to switch to the mpox name.

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier said, “We welcome the change by the World Health Organization. We must do everything possible to remove barriers to public health, and reducing the stigma associated with the disease is one of our tasks.” Important step.” Becerra in a statement.

Often a years-long process, the WHO says it made this name change over the past few months a part of next year’s edition of the International Classification of Diseases. The recommendations were reviewed in a meeting late last month.

“Considerations for the recommendations include rationale, scientific appropriateness, extent of current use, pronunciation, usefulness in different languages, absence of geographic or zoological references, and ease of retrieval of historical scientific information,” WHO said in a statement.

Mpox will be the new “preferred term”, although the WHO said both names will be used next year as the old name “monkeypox” is phased out.

Just as the name COVID-19 technically refers to the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus rather than just the virus itself, the new mpox disease name leaves unchanged the name of the pathogen that causes it: monkeypox virus. Any change to that moniker would fall to another body called the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses.

The WHO and US change comes as some federal health officials began informally referring to the disease as “mpox” in recent weeks at meetings and presentations, even as their slide decks and websites referred to the then- The official continued to list the name “monkeypox”.

Other alternative names such as “MPX” or “MPV” were adopted by some state and local health departments, although the latter may also be confused with the respiratory disease known as metapneumovirus. CDC publications adopted the abbreviation “MPXV” to refer to the virus behind the disease.

Variation in local mpox outbreaks

The name change comes as the pace of the current outbreak across the country has dropped sharply over the past few months. On an average, less than 15 new infection cases are now being reported in the US per day.

Since the outbreak began in May, nearly 30,000 Americans have been reported infected with the virus and 14 have died. Around 81,000 cases have been reported globally.

An analysis published earlier this month by the CDC predicted that the US would see infections slow further in most parts of the country. However, the agency cited a handful of factors — including a stalled second-dose vaccination drive — that raise concerns about a future resurgence.

At a meeting of CDC’s outside consultants on emergency response and preparedness earlier this month, officials said they were moving to a targeted effort to try to quell the outbreak.

Only a handful of counties are still reporting more than 15 cases per week. However, officials acknowledge that the virus may remain a threat for the foreseeable future.

“We will need to incorporate monkeypox into the public health framework, and the natural places for this would be STI programs in public health departments, clinics, and then HIV clinics,” said the CDC’s Monkeypox Dr. Jonathan Mermin. React event handler.

“This is where a long-term effort with the populations we see in the current outbreak will be most effective,” said Mermin, director of the National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STDs and TB. Prevention within the agency.

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