Image credits: Angelo Esslinger
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News Article

Monkeypox Variants Receive New Names

By Rodrigo Andrade | Mon, 08/15/2022 - 17:13

The World Health Organization (WHO) published the new names that correspond to the two monkeypox variants to distinguish between them, while aiming to prevent cultural, social, national, regional, professional or ethnic discrimination and any damage to trade, travel, tourism or animal welfare within a region.

The classification was designated by a group of global experts convened by WHO; these variants–or clades–have been named using Roman numerals. This meeting was done on Aug. 8, 2022, to allow virologists and public health experts to reach consensus on new terminology based on the phylogenetic, evolutionary and clinical differences between the two clades. Besides this, WHO also opened a public space so people could add their proposals for a new name.

The former Congo Basin from Central Africa variant is now named Clade one (I) while the West African variant is Clade two (II). The latter consists of two major sub variants that will be distinguished by lower-case alphanumeric characters, resulting in Clade IIa and Clade IIb.

Monkeypox infections keep increasing around the world, causing WHO to name the disease a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) on July 23, 2022. “There is also a clear risk of further international spread, although the risk of interference with international traffic remains low for the moment,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General, WHO, during a press conference.

WHO has confirmed 5,322 monkey pox infections around the globe, with 85 percent of them being in the EU. However, the number of infections has grown by 55.9 percent since the publication of the previous report on June 30, 2022. Although only one fatality has been reported, Fadela Chaib, Spokesperson, WHO highlighted the importance of preventive work “I continue to call on countries to pay special attention to monkeypox cases in an attempt to curb new infections.”

In Mexico, Monkeypox infections have not slowed down. In the past three months, there have been 390 possible cases and 147 confirmed infections, according to the data published by the Diagnosis and Epidemiological Reference (InDRE). These cases are spread across 18 states, with Mexico City reporting 75 confirmed cases and Jalisco 33. These two states register most monkeypox confirmed cases.

Photo by:   Angelo Esslinger
Rodrigo Andrade Rodrigo Andrade Junior Journalist & Industry Analyst