Zika virus: WHO declares global public health emergency, says causal link to brain defects ‘strongly suspected’

February 1, 2016 6:43 PM

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Zika virus: WHO declares global public health emergency, says causal link to brain defects ‘strongly suspected’

The World Health Organization on Monday designated the Zika virus a public health emergency of international concern, an action it has taken only three times before, which paves the way for the mobilization of more funding and manpower to fight the mosquito-born pathogen spreading "explosively" through the Americas.

Zika, which was first identified more than 50 years ago, has alarmed public health officials in recent months as it was potentially linked to thousands of cases of brain defects, known as microcephaly, in newborns. Estimates are that the virus will infect up to 4 million people by year's end.

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