Sunday, May 14, 2017

End to Zika Virus Threat

Brazil declared an end to its public health emergency over the Zika virus on Thursday.
The country declared a national emergency in November 2015 when cases of the mosquito-borne virus, which can cause babies to be born with abnormally small skulls, spiraled out of control.
The number of cases peaked before the 2016 Rio Olympics, drawing international attention and warnings against travelling. A huge mosquito-eradication campaign began in response to the outbreak.
The Brazilian health ministry had said that the number of cases reported from January to April this year had fallen by 95 percent to 7,911 compared with the same period last year, when there were 170,535 cases. And no deaths related to the virus had been reported this year, it added.
Needless to say, the end of the emergency does not signify the end of being vigilant and taking preventive measures. We can expect vigorous steps already taken to reduce the number of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which carry the Zika virus to continue.
But the WHO has warned that Zika is "here to stay", even when the zika situation is drastically improving, and that fighting the disease will be an ongoing battle.
Adriana Melo, the Brazilian doctor who raised alarm bells in the early days of the outbreak about a link between Zika and birth defects, said the lifting of the emergency was expected following the decline in cases.
"The important thing now is that we don't forget the victims", said Melo.

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