News in Brief 11 February 2016 (AM)

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Medical staff discuss a patient in the Lassa Fever Ward at Kenema Government Hospital, Sierra Leone. Lassa fever is a rodent-borne, acute viral haemorrhagic illness endemic to parts of West Africa. Photo: UNICEF/Tanya Bindra

Benin ramps up response to Lassa Fever outbreak

Benin is being supported by UN agencies as it combats Lassa Fever which has killed 17 people in the West African country.

The disease is spread through contact with food or other items contaminated with the faeces or urine of infected rodents.

Symptoms include fever, fatigue, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Lassa Fever can be treated.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have been helping Benin to respond to the outbreak, which began last month.

Measures include setting up quarantine units to isolate and treat victims, and establishing a system to trace people who might have been exposed to the disease.

UN official condemns murder of Mexican journalist

Authorities in Mexico are being urged by the head of the UN cultural organization, UNESCO, to investigate the murder of a journalist and bring her killers to trial.

Anabel Flores Salazar was abducted from her home in Orizaba, a city in the state of Veracruz, on Monday.

Her body was found a day later in the neighbouring state of Puebla.

Ms Flores Salazar worked for a newspaper in her hometown and contributed to two other local news outlets.

In condemning her murder, UNESCO chief Irina Bokova said the “crime has deprived people of a voice that nourished informed public debate and contributed to the free flow of information.”

Agreement focuses on health priorities in Iraq

Addressing communicable diseases and strengthening the national health system are among the aims of a recent agreement between Iraq and the World Health Organization (WHO).

The country’s Ministry of Health and the UN agency have endorsed a joint programme of cooperation covering the next two years.

It includes priorities such as addressing the urgent health needs of millions of people displaced by the ongoing conflict in the country, as well as the needs of those who have returned to areas liberated from the control of armed groups.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1’55″