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After a year of fighting the virus, Brazil calls off Zika emergency

In January to April this year, there had been 7,911 Zika cases, down 95% on the same period in 2016.

XINHUA-2016 PHOTOS OF THE YEAR-WORLD An employee conducts fumigation to prevent the Zika virus, in the Carabayllo District, in the Lima Province, Peru. Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

BRAZIL’S GOVERNMENT HAS declared an end to a national emergency over the Zika virus which was detected in the Latin American country late in 2015 before becoming a global concern.

Brazil has informed the World Health Organization, citing “the decrease in cases of Zika and microcephaly throughout the country,” the health ministry said in a statement.

The health ministry said that from January to April this year there had been 7,911 Zika cases, 95.3% down on the same period in 2016 when there were 170,535 cases.

Brazil Zika Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, responsible for transmitting Zika, sit in a petri dish at the Fiocruz Institute in Recife, Brazil. Source: AP/PA Images

In November last year the WHO had lifted its own international health emergency status for Zika, which can cause babies to be born with microcephaly, or abnormally small heads.

Brazilian health ministry official Adeilson Cavalcante said “the end of the emergency does not signify the end of being vigilant and providing assistance.”

Milwaukee Unrest - USA Fran Middlebrooks, a grounds keeper at Pinecrest Gardens, uses a blower to spray pesticide to kill mosquitos in Miami. Source: Chicago Tribune/PA Images

Measures to reduce the number of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which carry the Zika virus, as well as dengue and chikungunya, will remain in place.

The Zika scare was at its peak before Rio de Janeiro held the 2016 Olympics, with countries around the world reporting an increase in infections.

Those infected typically suffer mild, flu-like symptoms and get better quickly. In rare cases women infected while pregnant can give birth to children with severe defects.

© AFP 2017

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