Conclusions of the third meeting of the Emergency Committee regarding microcephaly, other neurological disorders and Zika virus

The third meeting of the Emergency Committee (EC) convened by the WHO Director-General under the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR 2005) regarding microcephaly, other neurological disorders and Zika virus was held by teleconference on 14 June 2016.

Zika virus infection and its associated congenital and other neurological disorders is a Public Health Emergency of International Concern

The Committee concurred with the international scientific consensus, reached since the Committee last met, that Zika virus is a cause of microcephaly and Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS), and, consequently, that Zika virus infection and its associated congenital and other neurological disorders is a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). 

The Committee restated the advice it provided to the Director-General in its 2nd meeting in the areas of public health research on microcephaly, other neurological disorders and Zika virus, surveillance, vector control, risk communications, clinical care, travel measures, and research and product development.

Very low risk of further international spread of Zika virus as a result of the Olympic and Paralympic Games

The Committee reaffirmed its previous advice that there should be no general restrictions on travel and trade with countries, areas and/or territories with Zika virus transmission, including the cities in Brazil that will be hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games. 

In the context of Zika virus, the Committee noted that the individual risks in areas of transmission are the same whether or not a mass gathering is conducted, and can be minimized by good public health measures. 

In addition, Brazil will be hosting the Games during the Brazilian winter when the intensity of autochthonous transmission of arboviruses, such as dengue and Zika viruses, will be minimal and vector-control measures are being intensified in and around the venues for the Games which should further reduce the risk of transmission.

WHO declared the continuation of the Public Health Emergency of International Concern 

Based on this advice the Director-General declared the continuation of the Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). 

The Director-General reissued the Temporary Recommendations from the 2nd meeting of the Committee, endorsed the additional advice from the Committee's 3rd meeting, and issued them as Temporary Recommendations under the IHR (2005).