[Ed. – Although the number of likely fatalities would be nowhere near rivaling the Spanish flu of 1918-20, the numbers in the Zika context are still both impressive and alarming.]
Mathematical projections suggest about 93.4 million people may catch the virus — including some 1.65 million pregnant women — before the epidemic fizzles out, a team reported in the journal Nature Microbiology.
Eighty percent of people will develop mild symptoms or never even be aware they have the virus.
But for babies in the womb Zika can be devastating — linked to a brain-damaging disorder called microcephaly that can lead to stillbirth or severely disabling birth defects.
Among women in a high-risk early term of pregnancy, anything between one and 13 percent have foetuses develop microcephaly or other Zika-related complications, said the multidisciplinary research team from the United States, Britain and Sweden.
This meant “somewhere on the order of tens of thousands across the whole of Latin America and the Caribbean who could realistically end up developing microcephaly or a related condition,” said study co-author Alex Perkins of the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, and specified this referred to “live births.” …
Experts not involved in the study said the new estimate may be conservative.