WHO gives new names to variants of monkeypox virus
The WHO has announced new names for variants of the monkeypox virus. /CFP

The WHO has announced new names for variants of the monkeypox virus. /CFP

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced Friday new names for variants of the monkeypox virus currently in circulation to avoid causing cultural or social offense.

A group of global experts convened by the WHO decided on the new names.

Experts will now refer to the former Congo Basin clade (group of variants) in Central Africa as Clade I, and the former West African clade as Clade II, which consists of two sub-clades, Clade IIa and Clade IIb. The main group of variants circulating is Clade IIb.

WHO said the new names for the clades should be used immediately.

Newly identified viruses, related diseases, and virus variants should be given names that avoid offending any cultural, social, national, regional, professional, or ethnic groups, and which minimize any negative impact on trade, travel, tourism or animal welfare, the WHO added.

The monkeypox virus was named when it was first discovered in 1958. Major variants were identified by the geographic regions where they were known to circulate.

The WHO officially declared late last month that the current multi-country monkeypox outbreak was a public health emergency of international concern.

According to the world health agency's situation report on the monkeypox outbreak published on Wednesday, 27,814 laboratory-confirmed cases and 11 deaths from the disease have been reported in 89 countries and regions worldwide, with Europe and the Americas being hit the hardest.

Source(s): Xinhua News Agency

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