13 May, 2017
Brazil on 11 May 2017 declared an end to public health emergency for the Zika virus after about 18 months of fight against this mosquito-borne virus. Some 7,900 suspected cases of Zika were registered between January and April, a 95 percent drop compared to the same period a year ago, according to the latest epidemiological data.
The health ministry noted that from January to April this year, there were almost 8,000 Zika cases, a drop of 95.3 percent on the same period last year when there were more than 170,000 documented cases.
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. One of those defects, microcephaly, causes babies to be born with skulls much smaller than expected.
The World Health Organisation lifted its own global emergency in November, but cautioned that the virus remained a threat.
Zika concerns were magnified by issues that the virus would spread even more via sexual transmission, or having sexual contact with an infected individual. A huge mosquito-eradication campaign began in response to the outbreak.
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The Zika virus had held Brazil hostage from 2015 to 2016.
Travel warnings issued by governments including the United Kingdom caused travellers, particularly pregnant women most at risk, to cancel trips to affected countries, while revelations Zika could be sexually transmitted heightened concern. "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.
Those infected typically suffer mild flu-like symptoms.
All three infectious diseases are transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito.
This year, Zika cases have fallen dramatically. World Health Organization warned that Zika is "here to stay", even when cases of it fall off, and that fighting the disease will be an ongoing battle.