No matter how things play out with the fast-spreading Zika virus, people are likely to end up angry at public health authorities.
It's possible the situation will become worse than expected, both worldwide and in the U.S., where some spread can't be ruled out. Zika may be blamed for some U.S. cases of microcephaly - the birth deformity tentatively linked to the outbreak in Brazil. If that happens, health officials will be slammed for downplaying danger, as they were during the 2014 Ebola crisis.
Or the epidemic may turn out to be smaller than expected and may never spread within the U.S. In that case, the public will accuse the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization of scaremongering and overreaction, as happened following two fizzled flu outbreaks, bird flu in 2004 and H1N9 in 2009.
It will be easy in hindsight to pinpoint how the authorities got it wrong, but for the time being they are doing one thing right. In their attempts to impart an appropriate level of concern, both the CDC and WHO are being straightforward with the public about how little is known.