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WHO Declares Zika Virus Global Health Emergency


rt articleThe following is an excerpt from rt.com | February 1, 2016 |

The World Health Organization declared the Zika virus a global public health emergency on Monday, following a recommendation by a committee of independent experts.

"I am now declaring that the recent cluster of microcephaly and other neurological abnormalities reported in Latin America following a similar cluster in French Polynesia in 2014 constitutes a public health emergency of international concern," WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said on Monday.

The mosquito-borne virus that is believed to have recently caused thousands of birth defects in Brazil requires an international coordinated response, Chan said.

However, no restrictions on travel or trade are necessary, she added.

The move, recommended by WHO's International Health Regulations Emergency Committee, which brings together experts in epidemiology, public health and infectious diseases from around the world, is aimed at fast-tracking international action and research priorities.

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