The World Health Organization announced yesterday that the name monkeypox will be phased out and the virus will be called mpox moving forward. According to reporting at NPR, the term "monkeypox" was determined to play into "racist and stigmatizing language."
As it will take time to shift people away from a name that's been in use for decades, the goal will be to phase the old name out, with both names in use simultaneously, over the next year. Critics who have pushed for the change say that the term "monkeypox" plays into racist stereotypes about Black and African people and misleads about where the virus originates. Scientists say rodents, not monkeys, are the main source of the virus. The change is also said to be a response to criticisms of US and European media using images of Black people disproportionately to illustrate stories on monkeypox.