Zika global emergency declared by WHO

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by Plazma Inferno!, Feb 2, 2016.

  1. Plazma Inferno! Ding Ding Ding Ding Administrator

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    The WHO declared a global emergency regarding Zika virus yesterday, putting it in the same category of concern as Ebola.
    Currently, there is no vaccine or medication to stop Zika. The only way to avoid catching it is to avoid getting bitten by the Aedes mosquitoes that transmit the infection.
    There's also a fear that other mosquito species could carry the Zika virus, which is still unconfirmed.

    Meahwhile, researchers are working on solution by using Wolbachia bacteria to infect mosquitoes and block the transmission of viruses like Zika: https://www.researchgate.net/blog/post/the-bacteria-that-could-fight-zika-virus

    Wouldn't the simpler solution be to get rid of all invasive varieties of mosquitoes that target humans?
     
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  3. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    Apparently Zika can also be transmitted sexually. There was recently a sexually transmitted case in the United States and French investigators observed Zika virus in men's sperm during an outbreak in Franch Polynesia several years ago.

    At this point, they still haven't conclusively demonstrated that Zika causes the dramatically increased microcephaly rates being seen in Brazil. But as the WHO says, the world health authorities can't wait for that confirmation, they would be crucified for delaying if they did.

    It's a big deal. My understanding is that something like one in 40 live births in Brazil during the last few months are microcephalic. And that isn't spread evenly over the country, some regions are much worse hit than others.

    Right now, it looks like Canada is the only western hemisphere country where Zika isn't expected to spread. But much of Canada is overrun with misquitoes during the summer. (Different species though.)

    I'm a little concerned about how long the birth defect danger persists after infection. Does an infected person ever get rid of the virus entirely or is it always going to be in their bodies? Will it still be dangerous to developing fetuses if it isn't actively replicating? Will a woman who contracted a mild Zika infection 20 years ago still be at risk of birthing a deformed baby?

    That isn't being seen in places like Polynesia where Zika was widespread as a minor flu-like disease years ago. But Polynesia didn't experience the birth-defects either. We may be seeing a new mutated strain of Zika in Brazil that's much more devastating. Unfortunately, well-intentioned but terribly-written Brazilian law designed to prevent abuses of genetic information, currently prevents Brazilian researchers from giving other researchers samples of the new Zika so that it can be characterized and sequenced. (I hear that some Brazilian researchers might be sending samples to the American CDC and to the WHO in Geneva illegally, under the table, risking felony convictions in Brazil for doing it.)

    Experience shows that misquitoes can be supressed but never entirely eliminated. They are determined little buggers.
     
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2016
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  5. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    Brazilian researchers believe that this new virus was imported from French Polynesia. According to Zanotto, when news from a spike in cases of microcephaly in Brazil reached that country, researchers in Polynesia went over the data gathered during an epidemic in 2013 and 2014, and found an unusual high incidence of newborns with microcephaly.
     
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  7. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

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    Well, given that Zika can be spread sexually and doesn't need mosquitoes to be transmitted, I don't think that holds true.
     
  8. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    To prepare for the next Zika, you need research infrastructure—for surveillance, for collections of rare viruses, for work that may not seem important until suddenly one day it is.

    Scientists knew about Zika in 1947
    Fortunately, UT has some strains of the virus freeze dried and are beginning to seek a test kit and vaccine.
     
  9. wellwisher Banned Banned

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    After looking at the babies with the small heads this idea came to me. If these had been discovered as fossils, would science have just assumed a genetic mutation, instead of a mosquito?
     
  10. sculptor Valued Senior Member

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    Most likely.
     
  11. joepistole Deacon Blues Valued Senior Member

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    Context is everything. If they found only fossils with microcephaly, then maybe. But I doubt it, because microcephaly is very rare. It should be rather clear to any future discovers that this is a genetic abnormality.
     
  12. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

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    Soooo - we kill off six or seven species of mosquito this year, and there is a reduction in the number of microcephalic births. Then it returns, because the virus has adapted to a different mosquito family. So we eradicate them. Dragonflies, frogs and songbirds go extinct all over the place, but the incidence of microcephaly ebbs. Until the virus perfects the sexual transmission vector, after which no amount of specicide will stop it.

    The very big deal is political. Women in overpopulated Catholic countries are having defective babies. What if those women become afraid to have babies ? What if they start demanding birth control, abortion and the right to refuse their husbands? The consequences.... well, there are a lot of powerful people who very much don't want to find out what the consequences would be.
     
  13. Plazma Inferno! Ding Ding Ding Ding Administrator

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    Apparently, Zika virus isn't cause of microcephaly. Recent study says that microcephaly cases in Brazil predate Zika virus outbreak, some of them may have been under-reported before the arrival of the virus.
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/microcephaly-brazil-zika-reality-1.3442580

    In the same time, a group of Slovenian scientists has become the first in the world to prove that a Zika virus infection during pregnancy causes brain damage to the fetus.
    http://www.rtvslo.si/news-in-englis...ove-link-between-zika-and-microcephaly/385577

    I'm confused.
     
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2016
  14. Plazma Inferno! Ding Ding Ding Ding Administrator

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