Brazil received a belated boost ahead of the country’s staging of the Olympic Games with three separate developments in the space of two days reducing concern about the impact of the Zika virus on visitors and indeed participating athletes. Firstly, health authorities in Colombia announced the end of the Zika epidemic in the country: the number of people infected with the virus and the number of cases of congenital microcephaly, in which the foetal brain fails to develop normally, believed to be linked to Zika, were down significantly on original predictions, suggesting it is not as serious a global health threat as first thought. This announcement coincided with the release of two separate articles in prestigious international science journals, which found that the threat posed by Zika to visitors was very low and that the suspected link between Zika and microcephaly was far from clear-cut.

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