On February 1, 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared Zika virus a health emergency of international concern, and a week later, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) elevated its response to the highest level 1. WHO estimates that 4 million people will be infected with Zika virus this year alone, and 30 countries have reported confirmed transmitted cases of Zika virus in the last 9 months, with that number increasing regularly. So what mortality risk does Zika virus carry in underwriting, and how concerned should we be?
Cases covered in the latest issue of Housecalls include Zika Virus and Hypercalcemia.
In February 2015 the Ministry of Health in Brazil investigated and later confirmed an outbreak of Zika virus that has since then spread rapidly through Latin America.1,2 Infection with Zika commonly causes very mild symptoms but this outbreak has created global news headlines and prompted some startling reactions. The WHO declared a global public health emergency, Brazil deployed 200,000 troops to battle mosquitos and women across Latin America were advised to postpone pregnancy.
This article is intended to provide essential background information on the Zika virus in order to assist insurers’ understanding and risk assessment of the situation. Insurers must continually stay abreast of these risks and rapidly assess the potential impact on morbidity and mortality – often with only preliminary scientific or actuarial data.