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Africa must be part of a united global fight against monkeypox, the World Health Organisation’s Africa office said, as countries in Europe, the US and elsewhere respond to unusual outbreaks of the disease.

“We must have one connected global response to monkeypox to avoid it becoming endemic in more countries,” Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Africa director, said in an online briefing.

As countries in the developed world find ways to limit the spread of monkeypox, “it is very important that … we make sure that we share those tools, we build capacities all over the world to respond to these outbreaks,” she said.

“What is extremely important now is to avert any potential for a repeat of the inequitable access to COVID-19 vaccines experienced by African countries early in the pandemic,” Moeti said.

Monkeypox is ordinarily found in countries in West and Central Africa with tropical rainforests but recently the disease has been discovered in more than 20 countries including Britain, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Switzerland, the United States, Israel and Australia.

More than 500 cases have been reported, many apparently tied to sexual activity at two recent raves in Europe. No deaths have been reported.

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