Latin America Zika Outbreak Should ‘Burn Out’ Within 3 Years, Scientists Say
A team of British experts in disease outbreaks believes that the Zika epidemic afflicting Latin America will end within three years. They based their estimate on modeling using available data on the outbreak, which has so far involved thousands of cases of Zika-linked birth defects, mainly in Brazil.
The Zika virus is typically spread by mosquito bites. For most people the health risks are mild. But, maternal infection in pregnancy can trigger microcephaly, a condition where babies are born with too-small heads and neurological issues.
The new analysis uses “all available data to provide an understanding of how the disease will unfold — and allows us to gauge the threat in the imminent future,” lead researcher Neil Ferguson said.
“Our analysis suggests that Zika spread is not containable, but that the epidemic will burn itself out within 2-3 years,” Ferguson, of Imperial College London’s School of Public Health, said in a college news release. Reporting July 14 in the journal Science, Ferguson and his team pulled together all the existing data on Zika transmission throughout Latin America.
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