Cases of monkeypox continue to grow worldwide, with 32,000 cases reported (11,000 of which have occurred in the United States), according to the World Health Organization. One aspect of the WHO’s response has nothing to do with facilitating vaccination or treatment, though. With a nod to what it calls “current best practices” for naming diseases, the WHO is looking for new names for monkeypox variants that steer clear of associating them with geographic regions. This actually matters to urgent care providers in that the WHO is asking that the new nomenclature take effect “immediately.” So, reporting new cases of the group of variants largely responsible for the current outbreak, formerly known as the West African clade, should now be referred to as clade IIb. The clade formerly known as Congo Basin has been recast as clade I. The WHO continues to accept proposals for renaming other variants.

One Problem with Monkeypox: The Names of the Variants, According to the WHO