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New York announces ‘name change’ for monkeypox, says older term is too ‘stigmatizing’

Health department couldn’t “wait any longer."

Published: October 22, 2022 2:21pm

Updated: October 22, 2022 2:26pm

The New York City Health Department this week debuted what it said was a "new name" for the monkeypox virus, claiming that the present term was too stigmatizing to continue using.

The city said in an update on its health website that "moving forward, the Health Department will refer to the virus as MPV."

"The previous name is an inaccurate and stigmatizing label for a virus that is primarily affecting a community that has already suffered a long history of bigotry," the health department said, a possible reference the LGBT community in which the vast majority of monkeypox cases have been located. 

"Stigma is a shadow affliction that can follow viruses and drive people away from care, even when the illness itself is treatable," the city argued further. "The Department requested the World Health Organization change the name, and continues to urge global health authorities to make this modification universal." 

"However, the equity considerations are too great to wait any longer," the health department added. 

New York this week also announced the first two monkeypox-related deaths recorded in the city, promising to make "every effort" to "prevent additional suffering from this virus through continued community engagement, information-sharing, and vaccination."

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