THIS AGAIN? NYC Officials Ask WHO to Rename ‘Monkeypox’ Because of Words ‘Racist History’

The New York City Department of Health officially asked the World Health Organization to rename the ‘Monkeypox’ virus because of the words “painful and racist history.”

“We’re calling on @WHO to act immediately to rename the ‘monkeypox’ virus. We have a growing concern for the potentially stigmatizing effects that the messaging around the ‘monkeypox’ virus can have on vulnerable communities,” posted the Commissioner on Twitter.

According to the Smithsonian Institute, the disease received its name after first being discovered in a colony of research monkeys in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Read his full letter below:

On behalf of the City of New York, I would like to extend our

gratitude for your continued support in surveillance, preparedness

and outreach response activities to the U.S.

orthopoxvirus/monkeypox outbreak. Unfortunately, once again,

New York City (NYC) finds itself at the epicenter of a contagious

disease that is affecting the fabric of our communities. We remain

concerned about the rapidly increasing transmission rate of this

virus and limited access to testing resources and vaccine supply.

Further, we have a growing concern for the potentially

devastating and stigmatizing effects that the messaging

around the “monkeypox” virus can have on these already

vulnerable communities. Therefore, I write to urge you to act

immediately on renaming the “monkeypox” virus as the WHO

stated they would do during a June 14t press briefing, over 5

weeks ago.

NYC joins many public health experts and community leaders who

have expressed their serious concern about continuing to

exclusively use the term “monkeypox* given the stigma it may

engender, and the painful and racist history within which

terminology like this is rooted for communities of color.

*Monkeypox* is a misnomer, as the virus does not originate in

monkeys and was only classified as such due to an infection seen

in research primates. And we know alternative terminology is

possible and entities are starting to use terms such as “hMPXV*

and ‘MPV.’ We need leadership from the WHO to ensure

consistency in naming and to reduce confusion to the public.