Monkeypox
Monkeypox iStock

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced it would be holding an open forum to rename monkeypox, after some critics raised concerns the name could be considered discriminatory and stigmatizing, Fox News reported.

WHO said the decision was made after meeting with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), which helps identify best practices for naming new human diseases to "avoid causing offense to any cultural, social, national, regional, professional, or ethnic groups, and minimize any negative impact on trade, travel, tourism or animal welfare."

In a statement on Friday, the UN health agency said it has also renamed two families, or clades, of the virus, using Roman numerals instead of geographic areas, to avoid stigmatization.

The version of the disease formerly known as the Congo Basin will now be known as Clade one or I and the West Africa clade will be known as Clade two or II.

WHO said that the new names for the clades will take effect immediately while a new name for the disease and virus will be worked on. The WHO said that anyone who wishes to submit a name suggestion can do so on their website.

The World Health Organization last month declared that the monkeypox outbreak is a global health emergency, the highest alert that can be issued by the WHO.

The Biden administration declared monkeypox a public health emergency last week, after cases of the disease were recorded in all but two states.

Before that, New York City declared the monkeypox disease a "public health emergency". New York City Mayor Eric Adams and city Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan said at the time that "New York City is currently the epicenter of the outbreak, and we estimate that approximately 150,000 New Yorkers may currently be at risk for monkeypox exposure.”