News in Brief 20 October 2017 (AM)

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A member of the World Health Organisation (WHO) takes an oral sample from a patient suspected of having Marburg haemorrhagic fever. (file/May 2005) Photo: WHO/Christopher Black

WHO helps contain new outbreak of Ebola-like virus on Kenya-Uganda border

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday it was working with Ugandan authorities and other agencies to contain an outbreak of Marburg virus disease (MVD); an illness that produces symptoms similar to the deadly Ebola virus.

A 50-year-old women who was taken to a health centre on Tuesday, is confirmed to have died of MVD in Kween District, a mountainous area on the border with Uganda and Kenya.

Symptoms included fever, bleeding, vomiting and diarrhoea.

The woman's brother also died of similar symptoms three weeks earlier and was buried at a traditional funeral.

He lived in a cave inhabited by Rousettus bats, which are known hosts of the Marburg virus.

Several hundred people are believed to have been exposed as a result of the outbreak, said WHO.

The agency said it was providing medical supplies, advice on safe burials, and has released US$500,000 from contingency funds.

More details from WHO's Regional Emergency Director for Africa, Ibrahima-Soce Fall.

"The teams have already investigated the area, have identified potential contacts of the deceased case, and are monitoring these contacts. So we are getting daily updates from the teams and we are confident that with this rapid support from partners, we will be able to contain it very quickly."

Local actions key to ending global hunger: FAO

Cities play an important role in making "radical changes" worldwide to curb hunger, malnutrition and food waste.

That's the message from José Graziano da Silva, the head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), during a mayor's gathering in Valencia, Spain, on Friday.

Leaders from more than 150 cities attended the third meeting of the so-called Milan Urban Food Policy Pact, which aims to curb hunger and solve other food related problems.

While highlighting FAO's support and efforts towards the initiative, Mr Graziano da Silva urged stronger partnerships with cities worldwide.

“Local actions are critical to achieving the goal of eradicating hunger and malnutrition, guaranteeing more sustainable food systems," he said.

British-Iranian citizen "arbitrarily deprived" of liberty, faces new charges

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a joint Iranian-United Kingdom citizen who has been held in a Tehran prison since April last year, on charges relating to national security, is being "arbitrarily deprived" of her freedom, said a group of UN experts on Friday.

Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe is serving a five-year term and could face an additional 16 years if convicted on new charges.

UN independent human rights experts José Antonio Guevara Bermúdez, of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; and Asma Jahangir, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, said they were "gravely concerned" about the impact new charges have had on the media NGO executive.

The experts called on the Iranian authorities to "release her at once, and to guarantee her physical and psychological wellbeing".

Last week, Ms Zaghari-Ratcliffe was taken alone to court and refused access to a lawyer during the hearing, when new charges were read out.

Matt Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 2’50″

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