The Chicago Journal

Monkeypox stigma has prompted the World Health Organization to come up with a name change

When Monkeypox broke out for the first time decades ago, scientists and activists insisted on a name that played less discriminatory and “non-discriminatory.”

Public health experts feared that the name would create a stigma that would make it unattractive for people to be tested and vaccinated.

According to experts, a new name would help to spread the disease.

60,000 cases have been reported all over the world and in June the general manager of the World Health Organization promised to change the name of the virus.

How did it take the name?

Traditionally, the scientist who isolates a virus has the honor of giving a name and Monkeypox has taken the name of him for 64 years.

Researcher Preben von Magnus and his team discovered two “smallpox-like” outbreaks in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1958.

The virus was found in a colony of crab-eating macaques, but it wasn’t until 1970 that the first human case of monkeypox was documented.

Although the baby had recovered from the infection, he would die of measles six days later.

Since then, cases have been documented in West and Central Africa.

According to the CDC, things in other places had to do with travel.

In 2018, cases emerged in countries that hadn’t seen the disease in decades, creating a global health concern.

It was not until this year that a name change was proposed, as outbreaks began to appear in countries where monkeypox had never been recorded.

Suggested names for old viruses

According to the WHO, the naming process is underway with a review of orthopoxvirus species, including the following:

  • Camelpox
  • Cowpox
  • Horsepox
  • Monkeypox
  • Raccoonpox
  • Skunkpox

Colin McInnes, a member of the WHO’s taxonomy committee, said the group’s mandate was to bring “virus species nomenclature into line with the way that most other forms of life are named.”

He shared that while smallpox viruses are traditionally named after the animal that is seen first, this has also led to some inconsistencies.

The origin of monkeypox is still unknown and probably did not start with monkeys as it is found in many other animal species.

McInnes, associate director and chief scientist of the Moredun Group, a group that develops vaccines and tests for livestock and other animals, is also studying cerebral smallpox.

SquirrelPox should also change its name.

He said that the Monkeypox virus and others had been renamed “orthopoxvirus” and “something.”

“It is the ‘something’ that is currently being debated,” said McInnes.

He revealed that some scientists prefer to stick to the name of Monkeypox in order to maintain the link with 50 years of published research.

The WHO committee has proposed changes until June next year.


Many scientists have asked who to work urgently. Weeks passed without action in July, prompting New York’s health commissioner to send a letter to the WHO.

The letter urged them to act before it was too late, citing growing concerns over the stigmatizing impact news of the monkeypox virus could have on communities.

The outbreak largely affects gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men, causing ongoing stigma and concern for WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“Stigma and discrimination can be just as dangerous as any virus,” Tedros said when he declared monkeypox a global health emergency in July.

The CDC reports that the virus disproportionately affects blacks and Hispanics in the United States.

Local public health data shows that fewer members of both communities are receiving the vaccine.

Experts fear that, aside from barriers that make it difficult to access any type of health care, some people may not get vaccinated or tested due to stigma.

Other proposed names

In the 2015 WHO naming conventions, the organization urged consultants not to name diseases after animals, names, professions and places due to stigma.

Last month, the WHO also requested that new names for monkeypox be submitted on its website.

Over 180 names were presented with a wide range of creative explanations. Names like Lopox, Ovidpox, Mixypox and Roxypox carried no explanation.

During this time, a handful made jokes, like Alaskapox, Bonopox and Rodentpox.

Johanna Vogl introduced “greypox” and said the name referred to a phenotypic characteristic of the disease and gray sores.

She also explained that it was not related to human skin color, location, group or animal.

Dr. Jeremy Faust, an emergency physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and an instructor in emergency medicine at Harvard, suggested “Opoxide-22.”

“While the monkeypox virus causing the current outbreak is not a novel pathogen, I propose that due to its destination as a public health emergency of international concern, renaming it is warranted,” Faust explained.

He added that he was concerned about the inaccuracy of the monkeypox name and the stigma attached to it, and said he submitted the name pending completion of further work.

The name Opoxid-22 reflects what is known about the virus and removes the “monkey” from the name.


Worries over stigma are driving a push to rename monkeypox, but the process is slow

A new strategy implemented tilts the monkeypox vaccine to varying results

With the increase in monkeypox cases in the United States, there has been a demand for vaccines, and strategies are being implemented with varying results.

Vaccine supply

Vaccination strategies have changed to accommodate the low-dose intradermal approach of Biden administration.

As a result, the change expanded vaccine stocks and met a growing demand for the Jynneos monkeypox vaccine.

Meanwhile, others have reported that the method should allow for five small doses of vaccines; instead, they could only extract four.

The shift

According to Bob Fenton, the White House’s national coordinator for response to monkeypox, more than three-quarters of the jurisdiction moved to the United States to implement the intradermal method of administering the monkeypox vaccine.

“As of today, 75% of jurisdictions are already applying intradermal administration of vaccine, and another 20% are working to move in that direction,” said Fenton.

Claire Hanna, executive director of the Association of Immunization Managers, shared similar results from a recent survey of immunization managers.

Emergency use

In early August, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use permit that allows health care workers to administer the Jynneos monkeypox vaccine intradermally rather than subcutaneously.

Intradermal administration of the vaccine requires one fifth of the dose for subcutaneous injection, allowing healthcare professionals to receive up to five doses from the standard single-dose vial.

“It’s a little too early to tell how it’s going to help with the supply meeting demand, but I think logically, you use less vaccine for one person,” said Dr. Emily Volk, the president of the College of American Pathologists.

“This is a dose-sparing approach, so it’s going to allow for the doses that we do have to be usable for many more people. So, to me that is very positive and I am actually heartened that the public health community is thinking outside the box.”

“It also buys time to make more vaccine,” she added.

Availability and eligibility of vaccines

The city and county of San Francisco, New York, Fairfax County of Virginia, Cook County of Illinois, and Dallas County of Texas are among the places where a large number of monkeypox cases have been admitting the intradermal administration of the vaccine.

The San Francisco Department of Public Health noted that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the California Department of Health have provided guidance on switching to the intradermal technique.

After New York adopted its new intradermal vaccination strategy last week, the city announced it would open more than 12,000 new appointments to the public.

Appointments are for people who are eligible for the vaccination and who have not yet received the first dose.

In most places, the vaccine is available to people who are believed to be at risk of exposure to the virus.

Meanwhile, in Virginia last week, vaccine eligibility was expanded to include people of any sexual orientation or gender who have had anonymous or multiple sexual partners in the past two weeks.

In Dallas, vaccination coverage has been extended to adults diagnosed with HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea, or early syphilis in the past 12 months.


Dr. Sharon Welbel, an infectious disease physician and director of hospital epidemiology and infection control systems at Cook County Health in Illinois, has attended meetings with public health officials in other cities.

Public health officials said they could not get five doses from the vial.

However, Dr. Welbel said that each of their vaccines managed to get five doses per vial.

But in some areas, such as Fairfox County in Virginia, vaccine administrators have not been able to extract all five doses.


According to Dr. Welbel, Chicago had the opportunity to vaccinate more people with the smaller vaccination, leading the city to switch to the intradermal method.

Some healthcare providers practiced with similar weapons, while those who didn’t weren’t allowed to bother vaccinating people until they got used to the new technique.

The new strategy has been successful so far, and Dr. Welbel said Chicago has expanded the population of people eligible for the vaccine, similar to other cities.


Monkeypox strategy shift yields more supply for some, hurdles for others

New York Becomes Second Major City to Declare Public Health Emergency Amid Monkeypox Outbreak

While the country is still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, another serious problem has emerged: monkeypox.

The first cases were reported in June with about 40 cases; but since then the number has risen to 5,189.

Cities have started reporting health emergencies, with California, Illinois, Florida and Georgia among the states with most numerous cases.

New York on Saturday became the second major city to declare monkeypox a public health emergency.

The announcement

On Saturday, New York City officials said the city was the epicenter of the state’s outbreak and pledged to take further steps to slow the spread.

“We estimate that approximately 150,000 New Yorkers may currently be at risk for monkeypox exposure, ” said Mayor Eric Adams and Dr. Ashwin Vasan, commissioner of the city’s health and mental hygiene department in a joint statement.

“This outbreak must be met with urgency, action, and resources, both nationally and globally, and this declaration of a public health emergency reflects the seriousness of the moment.”

The declaration took effect immediately.

The announcement came the day after the New York government Kathy Hochul issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency.

The governor’s order, among other things, expands the number of people eligible to administer monkeypox vaccines, requires providers to submit vaccine data to the state health department, and will increase response efforts to obtain more vaccines and expand the testing capacity.

Global alarm

Outside of New York, other state and international leaders have sounded the alarm about monkeypox as the number of infections rises, leading to an insufficient supply of vaccines due to demand.

Experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci have stressed that the outbreak needs to be taken seriously and dealt with more rigorously.

Meanwhile, federal authorities are still assessing whether a national public health emergency declaration is required.

San Francisco

San Francisco was the first major city in the United States to declare a local health emergency.

The announcement was made on Thursday to bolster preparedness and response to “rapidly rising cases” and high demand for vaccines.

The declaration goes into effect from 1 August.

“We know that this virus impacts everyone equally – but we also know that those in our LGBTQ community are at a greater risk right now,” said San Francisco Mayor London Breed.

“Many people in our LGBTQ community are scared and frustrated. This local emergency will allow us to continue to support our most at-risk, while also better preparing for what’s to come.”


The federal government continues to monitor the monkeypox response in Washington.

Based on the outcome, the government will consider whether the outbreak should be declared a public health emergency, US Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra said.

“We will weigh any decision on declaring a public health emergency based on the responses we’re seeing throughout the country,” he said on Thursday.

“Bottom line is, we need to stay ahead of it and be able to end this outbreak.”

Additional notes

Doctor Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the United States Food and Drug Administration, warned in early July that it might be too late to contain the outbreak.

“The window for getting control of this and containing it probably has closed,” he told CBS.

The World Health Organization recently declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency of international concern after holding its second emergency committee on the subject.


New York becomes second major US city to declare health emergency over monkeypox

New York declares health emergency over monkeypox