June 15, 2022 - 12:59 AMT
WHO may rename monkeypox

The World Health Organization (WHO) may decide to officially rename monkeypox and its variants, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, confirming earlier reports, The Jerusalem Post reports.

The monkeypox virus, a member of the family of viruses known as orthopoxviruses, is endemic to West Africa and Central Africa but has recently begun spreading to countries across the world.

This current outbreak has come worrying for many, especially with the cause of this current rise in cases currently unclear.

According to a WHO spokesperson in an email sent to Bloomberg, current WHO guidelines recommend avoiding animal names or geographic regions. Naming diseases, the spokesperson said, should be done in a way that avoids offending any demographic.

Monkeypox was first identified in monkeys in the 1950s and the first human case was confirmed in 1970. As the disease was first found in monkeys, it was given the name "monkeypox."

However, despite the name monkeypox, monkeys are actually not the main reservoir of the disease.

The virus can also be found in a number of animals, specifically African rodents. And many experts believe that it is these African rodents that are the primary reservoir.

But as of now, the definitive origin of the virus is unknown, though it is certainly not from monkeys.