The Zika virus is certainly worrying. On Feb. 1, the World Health Organization declared the cluster of infant brain disorders that health experts strongly suspect is linked to the virus a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, a rare designation defined by WHO as "an extraordinary event," constituting a transnational public health risk potentially requiring a coordinated international response.
The last event to receive that designation was the spread of the Ebola virus in 2014. More than 11,000 people in West Africa died from the disease -- a terrible toll.
In the U.S., however, the ratio of fatalities (2) to panic (a lot) was off the charts, driven in part by unfounded speculation and erroneous information. In hindsight (and even at the time), this was obvious.
Will concern over Zika follow a similar trajectory? Hopefully not, though the fact that more than 4 in 10 Americans think the disease is usually fatal (it's not) is probably not a good sign.
Another indication that interest in the virus has outpaced the risk is a comparision of the explosive growth and geographical expansion of Zika searches on Google versus the areas of actual active transmission. Here's a global CDC map showing the current areas of Zika transmission: