Mild Zika outbreak could cost at least $183 million

Federal Money for State-Level Zika Prevention May End Before Summer Onslaught

There are no cases of locally transmitted Zika in Ohio. A more severe outbreak could cost $1.2 billion or more, researchers found.

"This is a threat that has not gone away". A "relative" of the mosquito (Aedes albopictus, called the Asian tiger mosquito) is found in parts of OH and may potentially transmit Zika virus. No treatments or vaccines for ZVI are now available.

"Anytime there's a lot of rain, and there's really nice warm temperatures like we're having right now, you have to be on the look out for mosquitoes", said Erin Mordecai, an assistant professor of biology at Stanford.

Pregnant women traveling to and from places where there were Zika outbreaks, including South America, Mexico and Africa remain the most vulnerable. The virus can also trigger a nervous system disease called Guillain-Barre syndrome.

With government funding for Zika detection, prevention, and control still uncertain, policymakers need estimates of Zika costs to help guide funding decisions, according to the researchers.

If states can no longer afford to do so, it will be hard for health officials to know for certain which cases of birth defects were triggered by the Zika virus, Pellegrini said. All have costs associated with medical care and loss of productivity.

"But our model shows it is very likely that preventing an epidemic - or at least finding ways to slow one down - would save money, especially since epidemics like Zika have hidden costs that aren't always considered", he added. A 10-percent attack rate could cost more than $10.3 billion.

The Zika virus is primarily transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito and there is no indication that it can spread from person to person through casual contact. For comparison, the attack rate of Zika in French Polynesia and that of chikungunya-a similar virus-in Puerto Rico have both exceeded 10%.

"Without details regarding the Zika-prevention measures that would be implemented and how effective these may be, it is unclear what percentage of these costs may be averted", Lee said.

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