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Five Million People Contaminated With Zika in Brazil

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Updated Oct. 10, 11:10 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time

Brazil has reached the record five million cases of Zika for a country, according to an official government tally released Monday — even as the rate of new confirmed infections has slowed dramatically.

Health officials in Brazil were quick to tout the numbers as good news, after an evaluation of the actual number of infections that was done last week. But the fact remains that the virus, found mainly in mosquitoes, has ravaged Brazil, especially in the northeast and Sao Paulo, which has more than double the number of confirmed cases compared with New York City. There are more than 1 million possible infections.

In July, for instance, there were 1,980 confirmed cases of Zika — the number of the hottest summer in years. And 2,785 cases in August, the bloodiest month in Brazil since Zika was first detected in April. The new numbers for September show the highest recorded number in Brazil. The exact count of people who might have been infected in the past is not yet known.

The main differences between the two months are the number of confirmed Zika cases in the past and the size of the outbreak. Last month, the Health Ministry released a list that showed only 53 people tested positive — 12 in September and 36 in August. But it should be noted that the last week in September was one of the hottest in Brazil in decades, and more cases were likely detected.

The data show that the regional outbreaks were more severe.

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