NYC asks WHO to rename monkeypox over stigma

NEW ONESYou can now listen to Fox News articles!

New York City’s health department is calling on the World Health Organization (WHO) to immediately rename the monkeypox virus.

In a letter to WHO Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Gehebreyesus, Ministry of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan said that while the Big Apple remains concerned about rapidly increasing transmission and limited access to testing resources and vaccine supplies, it has “growing concerns” about stigmatizing and “potentially devastating” effects that monkeypox messages could have on vulnerable communities.

“That is why I am writing to you urgently to act immediately on renaming the ‘monkeypox’ virus, as the WHO stated they would do at a press conference on June 14, about [five] weeks ago. NYC joins many public health experts and community leaders who have expressed serious concerns about continuing to use the term “monkeypox” exclusively, given the stigma it can cause, and the painful and racist history in which such terminology is rooted. is for communities of color,” he said.

Tedros and the WHO declared last week that the international outbreak constitutes a public health emergency of international concern.

MONKEYPOX: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS – AND HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF

“Stigma and discrimination can be as dangerous as any virus,” he told reporters.

Reports surrounding Monkeypox have divided officials, and Tedros announced in June that the United Nations health organization is working with experts to change the name.

New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Ashwin Vasan speaks during media availability at Elmhurst Hospital.

New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Ashwin Vasan speaks during media availability at Elmhurst Hospital.
(Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

People normally become infected with monkeypox virus through contact with the skin lesions or bodily fluids of infected animals or humans or through contact with materials contaminated with the virus.

While most cases have been seen in gay or bisexual men, experts warn everyone is at potential risk.

A group of scientists wrote in a forum earlier in June that the continued reference and nomenclature of the virus being African “is not only inaccurate, but also discriminatory and stigmatizing”.

The virus has now spread to more than 75 countries, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), most of which have historically not reported monkeypox.

According to the WHO, monkeypox is endemic to countries in West and Central Africa.

People wait for the monkey pox vaccine at a mass vaccination site in Manhattan on July 26, 2022 in New York City.

People wait for the monkey pox vaccine at a mass vaccination site in Manhattan on July 26, 2022 in New York City.
(Liao Pan/China News Service via Getty Images)

WHO IS DECLARING MONKEYPOX A GLOBAL HEALTH EMERGENCY?

“‘Monkeypox’ is a misnomer, as the virus does not originate from monkeys and was classified as such only because of an infection seen in research primates,” Vasan added.

Vasan said that continuing to use the term “monkeypox” could revive traumatic feelings of racism and stigma, especially for black communities, other communities of color and members of the LGBTQIA+ communities.

Commissioner Ashwin Vasan speaks to health professionals ahead of the opening of a mass monkeypox vaccination site at the Bushwick Education Campus in Brooklyn on July 17, 2022.

Commissioner Ashwin Vasan speaks to health professionals ahead of the opening of a mass monkeypox vaccination site at the Bushwick Education Campus in Brooklyn on July 17, 2022.
(Betancur/AFP via Getty Images)

Vasan also noted that hate crimes against individuals from Asia and the Pacific (AAPI) have increased exponentially during the COVID-19 pandemic, and warned that stigma could have additional impacts on gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“Words can save lives or endanger them, so the world can’t repeat these mistakes in nomenclature,” he said. “We are at a crucial crossroads of the ‘monkeypox’ outbreak – before the understanding and awareness of the virus spreads more widely, but also at a time of increasing transmission where we need to communicate broadly about primary prevention and risks. The WHO must act now before it is too late.”

According to city data, 1,092 people tested for orthopoxvirus and monkeypox on Tuesday, but there are likely many more cases that have gone undiagnosed.

Leave a Comment