‘Engendered Stigma’: CNN Medical Correspondent Praises WHO’s Monkeypox Name Change

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A monkey laughing.
A monkey laughing.

‘Engendered Stigma’: CNN Medical Correspondent Praises WHO’s Monkeypox Name Change

Harold Hutchison on November 28, 2022

A CNN medical correspondent praised the World Health Organization (WHO) Monday for announcing it would change the name of monkeypox to “Mpox.”

“The WHO says it’s Mpox and there is an interesting reason for this, kind of a sad reason in many ways,” Elizabeth Cohen told “CNN Newsroom” host Ana Cabrera. “There is a concern that monkeypox, that the word engendered stigma.”

The WHO announced the name change in a Monday release, declaring the monkeypox should now be called Mpox due to “racist and stigmatizing language online, in other settings and in some communities.” The term “monkeypox” will be phased out over the next year, the WHO’s release stated.


Dr. Ashwin Vasan, commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, wrote to Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the WHO, in July, urging the name change.

“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,” Vasan’s July 26 letter said.

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“Just another note that monkeys have nothing to do with this virus, it’s really a misnomer, so it’s now Mpox,” Cohen said.

The United States reported 29,248 cases of monkeypox as of Friday, with 14 fatalities resulting from the disease, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The disease was first reported in 1958 by researchers using monkeys in research, according to the CDC website, with the first human case taking place in 1970.

‘Engendered Stigma’: CNN Medical Correspondent Praises WHO’s Monkeypox Name Change

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