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Global health agency's declaration signals new phase in battle against Zika virus

Global health agency's declaration signals new phase in battle against Zika virus

The World Health Organization declared Monday that explosive growth of the mosquito-borne Zika virus — which has been spreading rapidly in the Americas and may be linked to birth defects — constitutes an international public health emergency, signaling a new phase in the global effort to battle the virus.

The United Nations health agency made the decision after convening a panel of experts in Geneva amid reports from Brazil linking the virus to microcephaly, a birth defect in which babies are born with abnormally small heads and brains.

The recent cluster of microcephaly cases and other neurological disorders reported in Brazil followed a similar cluster in...

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