Brazil's confirmed, suspected microcephaly cases fall to 4,949

Therapist Rozely Fontoura (L) teaches Daniele Santos Shantala massage on her baby Juan Pedro, who has microcephaly, in Recife, Brazil March 26, 2016. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - The number of confirmed and suspected cases of microcephaly in Brazil associated with the Zika virus declined for the second week to 4,949 in the week through April 9, from 5,092 the week earlier, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday.

Of these, the number of confirmed cases climbed to 1,113 from 1,046 a week earlier, but suspected ones under investigation fell to 3,836 from 4,046. It was the second week in a row that the overall total figure dropped.

Cases that have been ruled out rose to 2,066 compared to 1,814 the week before, the ministry said.

Brazil considered most of the cases of babies born with abnormally small heads to be related to Zika, though the link between the virus and the birth defects has not been scientifically established.

Reporting by Stephen Eisenhammer; Editing by Bernard Orr