Although the World Health Organization has explained that Zika is “here to stay,” they have now lifted the global health emergency that they declared upon the virus’s outbreak last year in Brazil. Ever since, the virus has spread to more than 60 countries around the globe.

Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

Yesterday evening (Friday), the World Health Organization declared an end to the Zika virus global health emergency. Nonetheless, the organization noted that it will continue fighting the virus and the neurological complications it causes through a special program.

“The Zika virus and its complications are still a significant issue, but it is no longer a global threat,” stated the organization’s Emergency Committee, which was responsible for declaring the Zika global health emergency in February.

“We are not downgrading the importance of Zika,” said Dr Peter Salama, executive director of the World Health Organization’s health emergencies program. “We are sending the message that Zika is here to stay and the World Health Organization’s response is here to stay.”

The virus which is spread by mosquitoes can cause fetal defects and other neurological defects in infants and adults. Zika has spread to more than 60 countries since its outbreak in Brazil last year.