The Brazilian Health Ministry, Ricardo Barros, announced the end of the National Public Health Emergency caused by the Zika virus and its association with microcephaly and other neurological conditions.

The number of reported cases dropped 95% in the first few months of this year when compared with the same period in 2016. Therefore, Brazil no longer meets the criteria of a health emergency.

Zika virus infections dropped from 170,535 cases in 2016 to 7,911 cases this year. As a result, incidence dropped from 82.8 cases per 100,000 people in 2016 to 3.8 cases per 100,000 people this year.

With regard to pregnant women, 1,079 probable cases were registered. Out of these, 293 were confirmed according to clinical-epidemiological or laboratory criteria. Still, no deaths by Zika have been recorded this year. Last year, eight people died as a result of Zika infections.

Dengue infections dropped by 90.3%. By April 15th, 113,381 probable cases of dengue were notified in the country, as compared with 1,180,472 in 2016.

The number of deaths resulting from the disease was also smaller than last year, dropping from 507 to only 17 in 2017 – a 96.6% reduction.

With regard to chikungunya, there were 43,010 reports, which means an incidence rate of 20.9 cases per 100,000 people. Last year, 135,030 cases were repor-ted. As with dengue, the number of deaths resulting from chikungunya infections also dropped: from 196 to only 9.

Despite the end of the emergency status, Brazil will maintain its actions aimed at fighting the mosquito and providing assistance to infants and mothers. “Lifting the emergency status does not mean ending assistance or surveillance. The Health Ministry and other organizations operating in this area will maintain their policies regarding Zika, dengue and chikungunya”, announced the Ministry of Health.