New York City health officials are calling on the World Health Organization to change the name of the monkeypox virus, saying it has created a stigma that could put vulnerable communities at risk.
While the virus is primarily impacting gay and bisexual men, anyone can get monkeypox. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says two children have now tested positive.
As the city works to get control of the outbreak, it’s also working on a name change. The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene wrote a letter to the WHO, expressing concern about exclusively using the term “monkeypox.”
“Given the stigma it may engender, and the painful and racist history within which terminology like this is rooted for communities of color,” the letter read in part.
It went on to say the term “monkeypox” is a misnomer, since the virus does not originate in monkeys.
“Alternative terminology is possible and entities are starting to use such terms as ‘hMPXV’ and ‘MPV,'” the letter continued.