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Brazil has declared an end to its public health emergency over the Zika virus, 18 months after a surge in cases drew headlines around the world.

The mosquito-borne virus was not considered a major health threat until the 2015 outbreak revealed that Zika can lead to severe birth defects. One of those defects, microcephaly, causes babies to be born with skulls much smaller than expected.

Photos of babies with the defect spread panic around the globe as the virus was reported in dozens of countries. Many would-be travellers cancelled their trips to Zika-infected places. The concern spread even more widely when health officials said it could also be transmitted through sexual contact with an infected person.

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The Guardian

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