WHO Shifts From 'Emergency' Response to Long-Term Zika Fight

WHO stressed the Zika virus remains a serious threat.

In a statement today, the WHO said they were ending the emergency designation as they focus on a "robust" long-term response to fight the virus, which rapidly spread through South and Central America this year.

"The EC [Emergency Committee] felt that Zika virus and associated consequences remain a significant enduring public health challenge requiring intense action but no longer represent a PHEIC [Public Health Emergency of International Concern] as defined under the IHR [International Health Regulations]," WHO officials said in a statement today. "Many aspects of this disease and associated consequences still remain to be understood, but this can best be done through sustained research."

WHO officials are now advocating for the development of a sustained program with "dedicated resources to address the long-term nature of the disease and its associated consequences."