The World Health Organization (WHO) wants to give monkeypox a new name. There have long been efforts to stop naming diseases after animals or regions to avoid any possibility of discrimination or stigma, a WHO spokesman said on Tuesday evening.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had previously announced in Geneva that a decision should be made shortly.

The term monkeypox, for example, could indicate an origin from Africa, the spokesman said. Until May, the virus and the disease, both of which are to be renamed, were known almost exclusively from Africa, but the name was already misleading: the virus was first detected in monkeys in a laboratory in Denmark in 1958. However, according to current knowledge, it should be more common among small rodents. The monkeys are only considered a so-called false host.