The Zika virus should not cause Americans to be “unduly alarmed just yet,” the co-director of the Georgetown Center for Infectious Disease told CNBC on Friday.
“[There’s] no local transition on our shores just yet,” Paul Roepe told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” a day after the World Health Organization said the mosquito-transmitted disease, linked to severe birth defects in thousands of babies in Brazil, was “spreading explosively.”
The WHO, promising quick action after last year’s criticism about reacting too slowly to West Africa’s Ebola outbreak, said Zika could infect as many as 4 million people in the Americas.
“The highest level of virus in your system only lasts for a couple of days and then dissipates. So the viral load goes way, way down. Probably most of these infections self-resolve … in about a week of so,” said Roepe, a biochemistry professor at Georgetown University.