Zika virus cases drop in Brazil: WHO

Brasilia, April 26 (IANS) The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that the number of Zika epidemic cases has begun dropping.

However, the agency on Monday warned it still expected cases around the world to sharply rise in the coming months, Xinhua news agency reported.

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According to WHO’s assistant director-general Marie-Paule Kieny, the drop in Zika cases in Brazil is due to the end of summer, with mosquitoes thriving less in colder temperatures. There are also drops of the Zika cases in Colombia and Cape Verde.

No precise numbers for this drop are released but the Brazilian government has admitted that Zika has been reported in all its states, totalling more than 1.5 million cases, and more than 4,000 suspected cases of microcephaly in babies.

Canada confirms first sexually-transmitted Zika virus case

Toronto, April 26 (IANS) Canada has confirmed the first positive case of sexually transmitted Zika virus in an Ontario resident whose partner was infected by the virus after travelling to an affected country.

Canada’s Public Health Agency on Monday confirmed the infection after a testing at National Microbiology Laboratory which was still investigating another suspected case of sexually-transmitted Zika, Xinhua news agency reported.

Identity of the patient was not disclosed.

Altogether 55 Canadians have been confirmed positive with infection of Zika virus, all of whom were infected while travelling to regions where the disease is spreading. Among them are two pregnant women from British Columbia.

Bites of infected mosquitoes are the main way the Zika virus spreads.

Canada has no confirmed cases of locally acquired Zika virus through mosquitoes, and the overall risk in this country remains low, said the agency.

The agency suggested pregnant women and those planning a pregnancy should avoid travel to countries with ongoing Zika virus outbreaks.

If travel cannot be avoided or postponed, strict mosquito bite prevention measures should be taken, given the association between Zika virus infection and increased risk of serious health effects on a fetus, it added.

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