MONKEYPOX is set to be renamed as medics meet to discuss whether the outbreak is an ’emergency’.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is overseeing a review of the name – which could see the illness called hMPXV.
It comes after 30 scientists wrote a letter calling for the change, over concerns it could provoke racism and stigmatisation.
Anyone can get monkeypox, and before the current outbreak, it was mostly found in African countries.
But experts are worried that references to the illness as African are problematic.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the WHO said it was currently working with experts around the world on changing the name of the virus.
In a letter to the organisation scientists said that “continued reference to, and nomenclature of this virus being African is not only inaccurate but is also discriminatory and stigmatising.”
The note continued: “The most obvious manifestation of this is the use of photos of African patients to depict the pox lesions in mainstream media in the global north.”
Medics claim that the ‘current narrative’ is linking the rise in cases to Africa or West Africa, or Nigeria.
However, they state that as with any other disease, it can occur in any region in the world and afflict anyone regardless of race or ethnicity.
“As such, we believe that no race or skin complexion should be the face of this disease,” they added.
Dr Tedros also revealed that the WHO would be converging next week to discuss whether or not the outbreak will be given ’emergency status.’
In recent weeks around 1,600 cases have been detected globally – something experts say is ‘concerning’.
“For that reason I have decided to convene the Emergency Committee under the international health regulations next week, to assess whether this outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern,” Dr Tedros said.
In the UK there have been 470 detected cases, after 104 were confirmed on Monday.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) is set to update Brits on additional cases today.
Anyone can get the illness, with Brits being urged to visit a sexual health clinic if you have new blisters or rashes.
The signs of monkeypox you need to know
Experts at the UK Health Security Agency have said all Brits should be on the look out for key signs and symptoms.
The signs may include:
- Muscle aches
- Night sweats
- Cold-like symptoms, such as congestion and runny nose
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Swollen groin
Medics said that complications of the illness were documented as:
- low mood
- severe pain
A technical briefing issued the UKHSA on Friday found that the majority of cases are in London – with 99 per cent of them being in men.
The median age of confirmed cases in the UK was 38 years old.
UKHSA admitted that “traditional contact tracing is currently challenging”.
Where gender information was available, 311 of 314 confirmed cases were male, with three confirmed female cases.
Monkeypox is not considered a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
However, the data suggests that this is the primary way that the virus is spreading.
The key symptoms of monkeypox include a flu-like illness of fever, chills, and muscle aches, followed by a chickenpox-like rash.
The rash develops into painful blisters before scabbing – and a person is infectious until their scabs have fallen off.
The UKHSA said people should contact a sexual health clinic if they have a blistered rash and have been in close contact with someone who might have monkeypox within the past three weeks.
Dr Meera Chand, Director of Clinical and Emerging Infections, UKHSA said: “We are working, both in the UK and together with global partners, to progress the investigations that we need to help us better understand the virus, its transmission and the best use of mitigations such as vaccines and treatments.”
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