WHO declares Zika virus a global health emergency

The World Health Organization on Monday declared the mosquito-borne Zika virus to be a global emergency, as the disease linked to thousands of birth defects in Brazil spreads rapidly.

The designation was recommended by a committee of independent experts to the United Nations agency, following criticism of a hesitant response so far. The move should help fast-track international action and research priorities.

(Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay and Ben Hirschler; Editing by Alison Williams)