The Zika epidemic has peaked and is likely to end within three years, a team of UK-based scientists claim.

Writing in the journal Science, a team from Imperial College London said another outbreak is unlikely for another 10 years.

The scientists created a model using data from the current outbreak in Latin America, the BBC reports.

The World Health Organization declared the Zika virus a global public health emergency earlier this year because of the risk to new-born children. It is known to cause microcephaly – babies born with undersized heads. It began in Brazil in 2015 and has spread across parts of South America.

The scientists, from the Medical Research Council Centre for Outbreak Analysis and Modelling at Imperial, said because the virus is unable to infect the same person twice, infection levels fall and the epidemic dies out.

They said this mirrored the pattern of other epidemics, such as chikungunia – a virus similar to Zika.