The CDC Lies Again
This time, about Zika
By de Andréa
Opinion Editorialist for
‘THE BOTTOM LINE’
‘THE BOTTOM LINE’
As of early 2016, the most widespread outbreak of Zika fever is ongoing in the Americas. This recent outbreak began in April 2015 in Brazil, and subsequently spread to other countries in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean.
In January 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that the virus was likely to spread throughout the majority of the Americas by the end of the year. Subsequently, in February 2016, the WHO declared that microcephaly and Guillain-Barré syndrome believed to be associated with the virus outbreak were a public health emergency of international concern. The virus is ‘mainly’ (note the word MAINLY but not limited to…) spread by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which is commonly found throughout the tropical and subtropical Americas as in the southeastern U.S, but also by Aedes albopictus, "Asian tiger" mosquitoes that now have become widespread as far as the Great Lakes region of the United States.
The majority of Zika virus infections are asymptomatic, making estimating the number cases difficult. In around one in five cases, infection with Zika virus results in a minor illness known as Zika fever, which causes symptoms such as fever and a rash. However, Zika virus infection in pregnant women has a link with newborn microcephaly by mother-to-child transmission and, in very few cases, Guillain–Barré syndrome. A number of countries have issued travel warnings.
Scientific ignorance about Zika parallels the Aids crisis in 1980s, say Brazilian experts. ‘This is a major health incident in the history of Brazil. We face a very serious problem for which scientific knowledge is far from sufficient”, experts say
The spread of the Zika virus across Latin America, with its apparent tragic consequences for the babies of infected pregnant women, has parallels with the emergence of Aids more than 30 years ago, according to a senior epidemiologist on the frontline in Brazil.
Wilson Savino, director of the Oswaldo Cruz Institute in Rio de Janeiro, said the current state of scientific ignorance around the virus and its effects resembles that over HIV – the human immunodeficiency virus which gives rise to Aids – in the early 1980s.
“Back then, the scientific and medical community did not know what was going on until many people had died and considerable research had been undertaken,” said Savino. “Then it turned out to be a global health issue. In Brazil, although we have identified the Zika virus, we don’t know much about it compared with dengue or yellow fever. The degree of ignorance is comparable to what we faced 32 years ago.”
Savino is one of three senior Brazilian researchers and officials who were asked by the Guardian to shed light on how a disease initially classified as harmless came to be implicated in the outbreak of microcephaly – the birth of babies with small heads and underdeveloped brains –which has now been designated by the World Health Organisation as a public health emergency of international concern.
Zika, not a newly discovered Virus
Zika virus was first identified in Uganda in 1947. It is thought to have arrived in Brazil in 2014, possibly with visitors to the World Cup. There are now an estimated 1.5 million cases of Zika infection and the number is growing fast, though nobody knows how widespread the disease is because there are no symptoms in about 80% of cases.
In the rest, it can lead to fever, aching joints, muscle pains, sore eyes, itching skin and rashes and is now suspected as a cause of the spike in microcephaly cases in Brazil, although without scientific certainty. Suspected cases of microcephaly have risen from fewer than 150 in 2014 to 3,670 in the past three months.
“The fear is real. The scare is real,” said Gúbio Soares Campos, a virologist at the Biology Institute of the Federal University of Bahia who was one of two researchers who first identified Zika in Brazil last April. “People have to really be careful right now because we do not yet know whether there will be other major consequences.”
Pregnant women needed to be very vigilant, avoiding mosquito bites especially in the first months of pregnancy, he said. “We can’t confirm yet that only the Aedes aegypti is transmitting the disease. This needs to be investigated and scientifically proven. Those who affirm this are wrong, because the truth is that we don’t know. It could be transmitted by other mosquitoes, or in other ways” he said.
Scientists also need to know whether it is possible to get Zika more than once, or if one infection conveys lasting immunity. “It’s very important to know this now, more important than the vaccine,” he said. “If people develop immunity, then most of the population will already be protected if there is another outbreak. This would put the government and the people a lot more at ease.”
Claudio Maierovitch, director of the communicable disease surveillance department at the ministry of health, said that “we don’t have any doubt about the link between Zika and microcephaly.”
“The sudden increase in microcephaly happened exactly in the places where Zika had hit between seven and 10 months earlier. So the time frame fits. Also, the majority of women who have given birth to children with microcephaly have described the symptoms of Zika at the beginning of their pregnancies, such as skin rashes and fever.” Antibodies to the virus had also been found in infants born with microcephaly.
THE BOTTOM LINE: As I indicated in the beginning, I don’t know why anyone with a track record like the CDC can be taken seriously. The CDC is obviously a bad joke, a waste of space and taxpayers’ money. Oh and did I mention a danger to humanity? We would be better of not knowing anything than being spoon feed a bunch of LIES!
Thanks for listening - de Andréa
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