The variants were initially named by African regions. Considered stigmatizing, they are now replaced by Roman numerals.
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New names to avoid stigmatizing. The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Friday August 12 that it had renamed the variants of monkeypox, using Roman numerals. Until now, they were named after regions or countries in Africa. But this name was considered stigmatizing by scientists, who had wrote a forum in early June asking to change these names.
“A consensus has been reached to designate the old Congo Basin (Central Africa) variant as variant one (I) and the old West African variant as variant two (II)”said the WHO.
In addition, these new variant names make it possible to take note of the current reality of the disease. While this has long been limited to a dozen African countries, the vast majority of new cases have been detected elsewhere in the world, in particular in the United States, Europe and Brazil.
In a press release, the WHO also announces that it is conducting a broad online consultative process to change the name of the disease. Indeed, it is considered misleading and discriminatory, since the virus is not linked only to monkeys, since it has been demonstrated in many animals and in particular in rodents.