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WHO Declares Zika Virus, Association With Birth Defects, International Public Health Emergency

News outlets report on the WHO’s declaration of Zika virus as a public health emergency of international concern, including Director-General Margaret Chan’s statement on the issue.

Agence France-Presse: WHO declares international health emergency over Zika
“The World Health Organization on Monday said a surge in serious birth defects in South America was ‘strongly suspected’ of being caused by the Zika virus and constituted an international health emergency…” (Larson, 2/1).

BBC News: Zika-linked condition: WHO declares global emergency
“…The WHO alert puts Zika in the same category of concern as Ebola. It means research and aid will be fast-tracked to tackle the infection…” (Roberts, 2/1).

Financial Times: Zika declared a global emergency by WHO
“…Margaret Chan, WHO director general, said the surge in cases of babies born with underdeveloped brains in Brazil and other parts of Latin America represented an ‘extraordinary event and public health threat to other parts of the world’…” (Ward, 2/1).

The Guardian: World Health Organization declares Zika virus public health emergency
“…The declaration, made by the WHO Director-General Margaret Chan, will trigger funding for research to try to establish whether the Zika virus, spread by mosquitoes, is responsible for the large numbers of babies born with abnormally small heads in Brazil. It will also put resources behind a massive effort to prevent pregnant women becoming infected and, through mosquito control, stop the virus spreading…” (Boseley/Watts, 2/1).

The Hill: Zika virus spread declared ‘international emergency’
“…While the virus causes mild symptoms resembling dengue fever in healthy adults, it can be dangerous for pregnant women and has been linked to birth defects. The virus could also be linked to a rare paralyzing condition called Guillain-Barré syndrome, though a correlation is unconfirmed…” (Ferris, 2/1).

Huffington Post: WHO Declares Public Health Emergency Around Zika Virus (Grenoble et al., 2/1).

International Business Times: Zika Virus Declared An International Emergency By World Health Organization (Whitman, 2/1).

Los Angeles Times: Global health agency’s declaration signals new phase in battle against Zika virus (McDonnell, 2/1).

New York Times: Zika Virus a Global Health Emergency, WHO Says (Tavernise/McNeil, 2/1).

POLITICO: Zika virus: WHO declares global health emergency (Huet, 2/1).

Reuters: Zika virus tied to birth defects is international emergency, WHO says (Nebehay/Hirschler, 2/1).

Reuters: Africa, Asia vulnerable to spread of Zika virus: WHO (Nebehay, 2/2).

TIME: WHO Declares Zika an International Public Health Emergency (Worland, 2/1).

U.N. News Centre: Zika virus an ‘international public health emergency,’ U.N. health agency declares (2/1).

USA TODAY: WHO declares birth defects linked to Zika virus a public health emergency (Unger, 2/1).

U.S. News & World Report: WHO Declares Zika a ‘Public Health Emergency’ (Sternberg, 2/1).

VICE: The World Health Organization Just Declared the Zika Virus a Global Public Health Emergency (Conti, 2/1).

Wall Street Journal: World Health Organization Declares Spread of Zika Virus a Global Health Emergency (McKay, 2/1).

Washington Post: Zika virus: WHO declares global public health emergency, says causal link to brain defects ‘strongly suspected’ (Cha et al., 2/1).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.