- WHO said, on 13 November, that it was launching an intensive operation with its health partners to prevent and control a cholera outbreak in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Insecurity, massive population displacement - at least 250 000 people since early August - weak health services and a lack of safe water and proper sanitation facilities have caused a marked increase in the number of people with cholera in North and South Kivu. As yet, no data are available on the number of deaths linked to the current outbreak, but in complex emergencies the case fatality rate can surpass 30%. WHO sent 60 tonnes of medical supplies to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in collaboration with the Italian and Norwegian governments.
- WHO's Regional Office for Africa said, on 6 November, that it had provided training to 46 laboratory staff from across Africa, in collaboration with WHO headquarters and the Kenyan Medical Research Institute, to build capacity to identify dangerous pathogens.
- WHO welcomed the decision of the United Nations General Assembly on 3 November to ban smoking and tobacco sales at United Nations headquarters in New York.
- A WHO study that provides a comprehensive picture of people's health around the world, including the top 10 causes of death, was published on 27 October. The global burden of disease: 2004 update is available at: http://www.who.int/healthinfo/global_burden_disease/2004_report_update/en/ index.html
- On 31 October, WHO's Office for the European Region published a manual for young public health students on planning, conducting and publishing the findings of epidemiological research in environmental health. The manual, a collaborative effort with the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Office for Programme Support, draws on the experience of the Sumgayit Cancer Study in Azerbaijan.
- WHO sent medicines and other supplies to eastern Yemen to treat over 50 000 people for diarrhoeal diseases, malaria and other conditions after floods on 3 October.
For more about these and other WHO news items please see: http://www.who.int/mediacentre