May 12 (UPI) -- The national state of emergency regarding the Zika virus is over, Brazil's Ministry of Health announced.
The 95 percent decline in the number of cases in Brazil between January and April, compared to the same period in 2016, prompted the ministry to end the emergency conditions Thursday. A ministry statement noted there were 7,911 reported cases in Brazil in 2017's first quarter, compared to 170,535 cases in the same time last year. No deaths from the Zika virus have been reported in Brazil this year.
The World Health Organization lifted its own international emergency pronouncement in November.
Officials in Brazil said they would continue to combat the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which carries the virus. The mosquito also can cause dengue fever and the Chikungunya infection, each of which have fever and joint ache as symptoms.
The virus, which was first identified in Brazil in 2015 and spread rapidly through the country as Rio de Janeiro prepared to host the 2016 Summer Olympics, has been linked to birth defects in more than 30 countries.
"The end of the emergency does not mean the end of surveillance or assistance. The Ministry of Health and other entities involved including states and municipalities, will maintain their policy to combat Zika, dengue and Chikungunya," said Adeilson Cavalante of the Ministry of Health at Thursday's announcement of the suspension of the national emergency.