Should I be worried about the Zika virus in Brazil?

The Zika virus made headline news around the world in 2016, when the illness was linked to babies being born with abnormally small heads (a condition known as microcephaly). Fortunately, more than a year later, numbers of cases have dramatically fallen, and Brazil has announced that there is no longer a state of emergency in the country with regards to the mosquito-borne virus.

When news of the outbreak struck, Brazil launched a nation-wide campaign to eradicate the Aedes aegypti mosquito which carries Zika. These efforts have been very successful and have dramatically reduced new cases.

According to the Ministry of Health, 95% fewer cases were recorded from January through mid-April 2017, compared to the same time the year prior. Incidences of microcephaly has fallen as well.

It is important to note that in the state of Santa Catarina, where we are based, no patients have been recorded as contracting the Zika virus in 2017. Last year, there were only five recorded cases in the entire state. Mosquitoes thrive in warm, tropical climates, and while Florianópolis enjoys a warm summer, overall mosquitoes are not as problematic here as they can be in more tropical parts of the country.

That being said, for peace of mind, we recommend that expectant mothers visiting Brazil should wear long sleeves and insect repellant when sitting outside, particularly when near water in the afternoon and evening.

 

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