Kampala. The head of Africa’s public health agency has said he is ‘very pleased’ that the World Health Organization (WHO) is renaming the form of monkeypox disease, removing the reference to African regions. The WHO said last week that it would hold an open meeting to change the name of monkeypox. The former Congo Basin form of the disease will now be called ‘Clade 1’ and the former West African form will now be called ‘Clade 2’. “We are very pleased that we can now call those variants Clade 1 and Clade 2 without reference to African regions,” Ahmed Ogwell, acting director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said at a briefing on Thursday.
He said that he is very happy with the name change and it will remove the stigma attached to the disease. This year the highest number of deaths in the world have been caused by monkeypox in the African continent. A total of 3,232 cases have been reported in Africa and 105 people have died. However, only part of this has been confirmed because the continent lacks adequate clinical resources. Ogwell said the agency’s last briefing was a week ago and that at least 285 new cases have been reported since then. He said that 90 percent of the new cases have been reported in Ghana and Nigeria. Apart from this, new cases have also been reported in Liberia, Republic of Congo and South Africa.
Ogwell urged the international community to help 54 countries in Africa improve their ability to detect and control monkeypox. At the same time, British health officials said on Monday that there are signs of a decrease in monkeypox cases across the country, but it is too early to say whether this decrease will continue. The health protection agency issued a statement on Monday saying officials are reporting 29 new cases of monkeypox per day, compared to 52 new cases per day in the last week of June.
First Published: August 18, 2022, 23:03 IST