Brazil's health ministry on Wednesday said the number of confirmed and suspected cases of microcephaly in Brazil associated with the Zika virus has risen to 4,976 from 4,863 a week earlier.

Of these, the number of confirmed cases climbed to 745 from 641 a week earlier, while the number of suspected cases under investigation increased to 4,231 from 4,222 in the same period.

Brazil considers 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.

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