WHO declares Zika virus a global health emergency

A public health technician inspects an Aedes aegypti mosquito in a research lab to help prevent the spread of Zika virus and other mosquito-borne diseases at the entomology department of the Ministry of Public Health, in Guatemala City, January 26, 2016. REUTERS/Josue Decavele

GENEVA (Reuters) - 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)