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Brazil declares official end to Zika virus epidemic


The number of cases dropped 95 per cent between January and April, compared to the same period a year ago, the BBC quoted Health Ministry officials as saying in a statement. The disease, which is linked to birth defects, has killed 260 newborns and apparently caused microcephaly in 2,200 babies.

Panic over the quick spread of the virus deepened as Brazil prepared to host the Olympics in 2016.

One of those defects, microcephaly, cases babies to be born with abnormally small heads.

In November 2016, the World Health Organisation (WHO) lifted its own worldwide health emergency status for Zika.


Brazil was at the epicentre of the public health emergency declared in 2015, which caused a global alert to be issued by the WHO as cases were found around the world, arriving in the United States and Europe. Two-thirds of the women (67%) reported mosquito bites, but only one in 10 said they developed any symptoms that might suggest Zika infection. The games were feared to further spread the virus, and countries around the world were reporting increased infections. Researchers writing in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases found that the Zika virus-like particle (VLP) vaccine - which was developed by a biotechnology company in the business of novel vaccine technology - found that the vaccine was well-tolerated and safe in mice infected with Zika.

Travel warnings were issued in countries across the globe, including in the United Kingdom, with pregnant women urged to consider postponing non-essential trips to affected areas. The threat led to a campaign to eradicate the mosquitoes which carry the virus. "The Ministry of Health and other entities involved including states and municipalities, will maintain their policy to combat Zika, dengue and Chikungunya", stated, the Secretary of Health Surveillance at the Ministry of Health, Adeílson Cavalcante, during the press conference to announce the decision.

But the World Health Organization has warned that Zika is "here to stay", even as the number of reported cases drops, and that fighting the disease will be an ongoing battle.

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