Health

Brazil ends Zika Virus state of emergency

Zika Mosquito AedesAlbopictus Large

The Zika virus has been the stuff of nightmares, but it’s finally on the decline.

Zika first hit headlines a little over a year and a half ago, but reported cases are now less common. It was announced through AP via The Washington Post that Brazil has called off the national state of emergency which was set in place in 2015.

Visitors to Brazil, especially expectant mothers and couples trying to conceive, were advised to exercise extreme caution. This was due to the fact that Zika had been linked with severe birth defects. One of the worst of these was microcephaly, a condition which effected many children across the country.

The outbreak of the virus not only effected tourism, but also the preparations for the Olympic Games in 2016.

As reported by AP:

In response to the outbreak, Brazil launched a mosquito-eradication campaign. The Health Ministry said those efforts have helped to dramatically reduce cases of Zika. From January through mid-April, the Health Ministry recorded 95 percent fewer cases than during the same period last year. The incidence of microcephaly has fallen as well.

The World Health Organization lifted its own international emergency in November, even while saying the virus remained a threat.

“The end of the emergency doesn’t mean the end of surveillance or assistance” to affected families, said Adeilson Cavalcante, the secretary for health surveillance at Brazil’s Health Ministry. “The Health Ministry and other organizations involved in this area will maintain a policy of fighting Zika, dengue and chikungunya.”

All three diseases are carried by the Aedes aegypti mosquito.

The lifting of the state of emergency does not, however, mean that zika has been eradicated completely. People are still being urged to take precautions when visiting Brazil and other zika hotspots.

 

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