After convening an emergency session to deal with the swift spread of the Zika virus, the World Health Organization has declared the mosquito-borne outbreak a global emergency.
“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 in a statement.
Echoing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, WHO recommended that pregnant women delay traveling to the countries affected by the Zika virus. Although 80 percent of people who contract the virus don’t show symptoms, it has been cited as a potential cause of an increase in microcephaly, a condition where babies are born with abnormally small heads.
As the BBC reports, this declaration puts Zika in the same category as the Ebola virus.