Brazil declares end to Zika virus emergency

Due to nearly a full elimination of recorded Zika cases, Brazil has just announced on Thursday that the virus is no longer an official public health crises.

There were 7,911 cases reported in this period, compared to 170,535 cases reported in the same time in 2016, it said.

The Zika virus has been linked with causing birth defects in babies.

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The World Health Organization lifted its own worldwide emergency pronouncement in November.

Brazil had declared a national emergency in November 2015.

The concern spread even more widely when health agencies found out that Zika virus could also be transmitted through sexual contact with an infected person. The games were feared to further spread the virus, and countries around the world were reporting increased infections. Many would-be travellers cancelled their trips to Zika-infected places. The threat led to a campaign to eradicate the mosquitoes which carry the virus.

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Preclinical results by scientists at City College of New York (CCNY) and biotechnology developer TechnoVax in animal models demonstrate favourable outcomes in developing a vaccine against the mosquito-borne Zika virus.

However, a study of macaque monkeys showed that Zika virus infection during infancy can cause structural and functional changes in the brain, reported Ann Chahroudi, MD, from Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. "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, AdeĆ­lson Cavalcante, according to sources.

But the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that Zika is "here to stay" despite the decline in cases, and that continued efforts are needed to fight the disease.

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