Zika Thoughts: No Panic Needed

I was waiting to comment on the Zika virus until more information comes to light, but I have decided to throw my two cents in. As most of you know, in Brazil, there is an epidemic of microcephaly—infants being born with tiny heads and many health problems associated with it.  An astute doctor in Brazil first recognized the connection between microcephaly and the Zika virus.

However, it is far from proven that the Zika virus is causing microcephaly. I do not think Zika is causing the epidemic of microcephaly in Brazil. The reason I do not think Zika is causing this epidemic is that Zika has been around for a long time—why has microcephaly suddenly become an epidemic in Brazil?  And, where are the other cases of microcephaly where Zika virus is endemic?

Zika virus is spread to people through mosquito bites. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days Defy Your Doctor and B... C. Thomas Corriher, Sa... Best Price: $10.78 Buy New $26.91 (as of 12:45 EDT - Details) to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon.

Zika was first identified in Uganda in 1947 in rhesus monkeys. Outbreaks of Zika virus have been recorded in Africa, the Americas, Asia, and the Pacific. I will ask the question:  Over the last 70 years, where are the cases of microcephaly in these Zika-endemic areas?

In the mainland U.S., 35 cases of Zika have been reported and these are all travel-associated. There have been no locally acquired vector-borne cases reported. The CDC has issued travel warnings and recommending abstaining from sex if a male partner has travelled to a place where Zika is spreading.

Something is causing microcephaly in this Zika-infested area of Brazil. It is interesting that the area where the residents are suffering with microcephaly is the same area where 800,000 genetically modified mosquitoes were released to counter both dengue and Zika viral infections. Could there be a link between the cases of microcephaly and the release of the genetically modified mosquitoes? Yes, but it is much too early to draw this conclusion.

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