WASHINGTON – The Zika outbreak will cost Latin American and Caribbean nations roughly $4 billion this year, or 0.07 percent of regional gross domestic product, the World Bank said.
The vast bulk of that total will come in the form of economic losses, the bank said.
The bank announced it has made $150 million available to Latin America and the Caribbean for the fight against Zika, a virus that has been linked to a rise in birth defects in Brazil.
“If additional financing is needed, the World Bank Group stands ready to increase its support,” the multilateral lender said in a statement.
Individual countries that depend heavily on tourism face the potential for Zika-related losses of more than 1 percent of GDP, the bank warned.
The bank said its forecast of the economic impact of the virus rested on the assumption that there would be “a swift, well-coordinated international response” to the threat posed by Zika.
“Our analysis underscores the importance of urgent action to halt the spread of the Zika virus and to protect the health and well-being of people in the affected countries,” Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank Group, said.