The World Health Organization (WHO) has lifted its previously declared global health emergency over the widespread Zika virus. However, the organization maintains that the virus remains to be a highly significant, long-term problem.

On Friday, the WHO released a public statement removing the state of emergency by deeming Zika as a mosquito-borne disease, classifying it alongside the likes of dengue and malaria. However, the organization continues to address the disease as a global public health threat, in dire need of vaccine development.

Some public health experts have expressed disapproval for the emergency warning's lifting. According to Reuters, experts are worried that the lifting of the label may delay virus research and the spread of awareness in other affected and non-infected countries.

The virus has not been known to cause pain, sickness, or discomfort in adults or children. However, it poses serious threats to pregnant women and unborn infants. The Zika virus has been scientifically linked to the underdevelopment of fetuses, microcephaly, and other physical abnormalities.

The virus was discovered in 1947 and was classified as a mild disease. However, following the recorded births of more than 2, 000 Brazilian babies born with Zika-caused microcephaly, the disease was classified as a global health risk.

Following the outbreak in Brazil, more than sixty countries have been marked as infected. In a report by the New York Times, it was stated that countries housing Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are prone to carrying the seasonal disease.

The disease has observably spread to almost all countries in the Western Hemisphere but Canada. Other regions such as Southeast Asia have also been experiencing a rise in Zika outbreaks, resulting in underdevelopment and even death in infants.

Scientists have also speculated that other infected infants may begin to show intellectual deficits or mental retardation in the later years of life. However, these claims are yet to be proven by longitudinal studies.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the WHO have issued warnings against the travelling of pregnant women to locations wherein the virus is present. The organizations have also issued warnings against the potential sexual transmission of this disease.