Even a relatively mild Zika outbreak in the United States could cost more than $183 million in medical costs and productivity losses, suggests a computational analysis led by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers, while a more severe one could result in $1.2 billion or more in medical costs and productivity losses.
Reporting last week in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, the researchers estimated the potential impact of a Zika outbreak based on a variety of epidemic sizes. They focused on five Southeastern states and Texas, the U.S. locations most populated by Aedes aegypti, the mosquito most likely to carry the disease.
While many people with Zika show mild symptoms, if any, a Zika infection during pregnancy can cause birth defects such as microcephaly or other severe brain defects. In regions affected by Zika there have also been increased reports of Guillain-Barré syndrome, a rare illness of the nervous system. There is no treatment nor is there a vaccine to prevent Zika.