KAMPALA, UGANDA (AP) – The head of Africa’s public health agency says he’s “really pleased” that the World Health Organization (WHO) is renaming the strains of the monkeypox disease to remove references to African regions amid concerns about stigmatisation.
The variant of the disease formerly known as the Congo Basin is now called Clade 1 and what was previously known as the West Africa clade is now called Clade 2, the United Nations health agency announced last week, saying it will hold an open forum to rename monkeypox altogether.
“We are very glad that now we can be able to call them Clade 1 and Clade 2 rather than make reference to these variants using African regions,” Acting Director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Ahmed Ogwell, said at a briefing yesterday. “We are really pleased with that change in naming, which will remove stigma from disease-causing variants.”
More monkeypox deaths have been reported on the African continent this year than anywhere in the world. A total of 3,232 cases, including 105 deaths, have been reported in Africa, although only a fraction have been confirmed because the continent lacks enough diagnostic resources.
At least 285 new cases have been reported since the agency’s last briefing a week ago, Ogwell said, adding that the West African nations of Ghana and Nigeria are reporting 90 per cent of new cases.
Most people infected with monkeypox recover without treatment, but it can cause more severe symptoms like brain inflammation and in rare cases, death.
The variant of monkeypox spreading in Europe and North America has a lower fatality rate than the one circulating in Africa.