A mild Zika outbreak could cost more than $183 million in medical costs and productivity losses.
According to a computer analysis led by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, a severe outbreak could bring costs close to $1.2 billion.
This year, 19 people have already contracted the virus here in Maryland.
“This is a threat that has not gone away. Zika is still spreading silently and we are just now approaching mosquito season in the United States, which has the potential of significantly increasing the spread,” says study leader Bruce Y. Lee, MD, MBA, an associate professor in the Department of International Health at the Bloomberg School. “There’s still a lot we don’t know about the virus, but it is becoming clear that more resources will be needed to protect public health. Understanding what a Zika epidemic might look like, however, can really help us with planning and policy making as we prepare.”
The analysis focused on a variety of epidemic sizes in five Southeastern states and Texas, the U.S. states with the largest number of the mosquito most likely to carry the disease.
Zika an cause severe birth defects if a pregnant woman becomes infected.
Health officials say pregnant women should not travel anywhere there is active Zika transmission. That includes Mexico, along with parts of the Caribbean, Central America, South America, Asia and Africa.