The World Health Organization (WHO) is preparing to change the name of the monkeypox virus to “MPOX”.
The change in terminology is an attempt to eradicate the virus at the behest of President Biden’s administration, according to a Politico report citing three anonymous sources with knowledge of the matter.
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Sources said senior Biden officials repeatedly urged the WHO to make name changes and threatened to adopt new terminology without WHO’s approval.
According to the report, the Biden administration believes the name “monkey flower” carries an unnecessary stigma for people of color.
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The UN agency’s Emergency Committee said in early November that the monkeypox epidemic continues to represent a global health emergency, the WHO’s highest alert level.
The WHO label is a “public health emergency “international concern” is designed to trigger a coordinated international response and can provide funding to collaborate on sharing vaccines and treatments.
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The United States has seen a total of about 29,200 cases of monkeypox within its borders.
“Currently, data shows that gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men account for the majority of cases in the current monkeypox epidemic. However, anyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, is at risk if you have close, personal contact with someone who has Monkeypox. Take precautions to avoid getting smallpox. See a healthcare professional if you have any of the symptoms of monkeypox.”
Reuters contributed to this report.