A World Health Organization official has come to the defense of the monkeys following a series of primate attacks in Brazil, saying they are not responsible for the growing outbreak of monkeypox.
Margaret Harris, spokesperson for the WHO, told a United Nations press conference in Geneva that the monkeypox virus has been found in many animals and is more common in rodents than in monkeys. Harris explained that the only reason the virus was named monkeypox was because it was first identified in a group of monkeys in Denmark.
“What people need to know very clearly is the transmission that we see happening between humans. It’s close contact transmission.
The concern should be where it is transmitted in the human population and what humans can do to protect themselves from catching it and passing it on. They certainly shouldn’t attack animals”, - Harris said.
The WHO is considering changing the name of the virus to disassociate the monkeys from the current outbreak. Harris said discussions on the name were “ongoing” and an announcement would be coming “very soon”.