Health officials in New York City issued a formal request to the W.H.O. this week asking the global agency to rename the ‘Monkeypox’ virus because it carries a negative “stigma” for communities of color.


“We’re calling on @WHO to act immediately to rename the “monkeypox” virus. We have a growing concern for the potentially stigmatizing effects that the messaging around the “monkeypox” virus can have on vulnerable communities,” posted the NYC Health Dept. on social media.


The Department then issued the following letter to the World Health Organization.


On behalf of the City of New York, I would like to extend our

gratitude for your continued support in surveillance, preparedness

and outreach response activities to the U.S.

orthopoxvirus/monkeypox outbreak. Unfortunately, once again,

New York City (NYC) finds itself at the epicenter of a contagious

disease that is affecting the fabric of our communities. We remain

concerned about the rapidly increasing transmission rate of this

virus and limited access to testing resources and vaccine supply.



 Further, we have a growing concern for the potentially

devastating and stigmatizing effects that the messaging

around the “monkeypox” virus can have on these already

vulnerable communities. Therefore, I write to urge you to act

immediately on renaming the “monkeypox” virus as the WHO

stated they would do during a June 14t press briefing, over 5

wecks ago.


NYC joins many public health experts and community leaders who

have expressed their serious concern about continuing to

exclusively use 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.

*Monkeypox* is a misnomer, as the virus does not originate in

monkeys and was only classified as such due to an infection seen

in research primates. And we know alternative terminology is

possible and entities are starting to use terms such as “hMPXV*

and “MPV.” We need leadership from the WHO to ensure

consistency in naming and to reduce confusion to the public.