LISTEN LIVE KPR - On Air: Listen Live to classical, jazz and NPR news Schedule LATEST
KPR 2 - On Air: Listen live to KPR's all talk-radio service, KPR2 Recordings

Share this page              

WHO Declares A Global Public Health Emergency Over Zika Virus

Dr. Margaret Chan, director-general of the World Health Organization, and Dr. David L. Heymann, WHO assistant director-general, announce the global emergency during a news conference Monday in Geneva.

The World Health Organization has declared the cluster of microcephaly associated with the spread of the Zika virus to be a public health emergency of international concern — a designation reserved for an"extraordinary event" that is "serious, unusual or unexpected."

Dr. Margaret Chan, the WHO's director-general, said during a press briefing Monday that an international coordinated response was needed to improve mosquito control as well as to expedite the development of tests that detect the Zika virus.

The declaration is chiefly important to intensify the efforts to prove that the Zika virus is causing microcephaly, a birth defect in which babies are born with abnormally small heads. Essentially, Chan said, if the Zika virus was not thought to be causing these problems in newborns, it would not be a "clinically serious condition."

Dr. David L. Heymann, assistant director-general of the WHO, said that it was unclear how long it would take to definitively link the Zika virus to microcephaly in children.

"The lack of vaccines and reliable diagnostics tests and the absence of population immunity in newly affected countries were cited as further cases for concern," Chan said.

She added that pregnant women can consider delaying travel to countries affected by the Zika virus, but the most important precautionary measure is to control mosquitos and to protect themselves against bites by using mosquito repellent and long clothing.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

Tower Frequencies

91.5 FM KANU Lawrence, Topeka, Kansas City
89.7 FM KANH Emporia
99.5 FM K258BT Manhattan
97.9 FM K250AY Manhattan (KPR2)
91.3 FM  KANV Junction City, Olsburg
89.9 FM K210CR Atchison
90.3 FM KANQ Chanute
96.1 FM K241AR Lawrence (KPR2)

See the Coverage Map for more details

Contact Us

Kansas Public Radio
1120 West 11th Street
Lawrence, KS 66044
Download Map
785-864-4530 (Main Line)
888-577-5268 (Toll Free)