Stories
Slash Boxes
Comments

SoylentNews is people

posted by martyb on Monday February 15 2016, @01:55PM   Printer-friendly
from the debugging-gone-wrong? dept.

The Zika Virus is triggering all sorts of fear in much of the warmer areas of south and central America, and recently spreading to the US via semen of a man who visited the area. (There are only 31 cases of the virus being found in the US to-date, all from travelers.)

The fear is caused by linkage to microcephaly birth defects, but so far the science behind that linkage is unproven.
The World Health Organization is becoming alarmed:

"The level of concern is high, as is the level of uncertainty," WHO’s director general Dr. Margaret Chan said. "We need to get some answers quickly."

Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare autoimmune disorder that can lead to life-threatening paralysis also seems to be linked with the Zika.

But this isn't the first outbreak of the Zika virus. Its been around for decades. And prior outbreaks did not exhibit any linkage to Microcephaly or Guillain-Barre.

[Continues.]

There are now articles starting to appear that link the microcephaly with something that has an actual scientific cause of birth defects. And these articles are pointing to another Monsanto product.

According to one news site the birth defects may be due to a chemical larvicide component used by the Brazilian Ministry of Health against Aedes (mosquitoes).

Original Portuguese article here.

Google Translation here

“Pyriproxyfen is a growth inhibitor of mosquito larvae, which alters the development process from larva to pupa to adult, thus generating malformations in developing mosquitoes and killing or disabling them. It acts as an insect juvenile hormone or juvenoid, and has the effect of inhibiting the development of adult insect characteristics (for example, wings and mature external genitalia) and reproductive development. It is an endocrine disruptor and is teratogenic (causes birth defects).

“Malformations detected in thousands of children from pregnant women living in areas where the Brazilian state added pyriproxyfen to drinking water is not a coincidence, even though the Ministry of Health places a direct blame on Zika virus for this damage, while trying to ignore its responsibility and ruling out the hypothesis of direct and cumulative chemical damage caused by years of endocrine and immunological disruption of the affected population,” according to the report by Physicians in the Crop-Sprayed Towns.


Original Submission

Related Stories

'Super Bacteria' Found in Multiple Samples at Rio's Olympic Venues, Top Beaches 19 comments

New study details from http://www.reuters.com/article/us-olympics-rio-superbacteria-exclusive-idUSKCN0YW2E8 "Exclusive: Studies find 'super bacteria' in Rio's Olympic venues, top beaches":

"Scientists have found dangerous drug-resistant "super bacteria" off beaches in Rio de Janeiro that will host Olympic swimming events and in a lagoon where rowing and canoe athletes will compete when the Games start on Aug. 5.

The findings from two unpublished academic studies seen by Reuters concern Rio's most popular spots for tourists and greatly increase the areas known to be infected by the microbes normally found only in hospitals."

[...] The super bacteria can cause hard-to-treat urinary, gastrointestinal, pulmonary and bloodstream infections, along with meningitis. The CDC says studies show that these bacteria contribute to death in up to half of patients infected.

[...] Waste from countless hospitals, in addition to hundreds of thousands of households, pours into storm drains, rivers and streams crisscrossing Rio, allowing the super bacteria to spread outside the city's hospitals in recent years.

[...] These bacteria are opportunistic microbes that can enter the body, lie dormant, then attack at a later date when a healthy person may fall ill for another reason.

[...] Super bacteria infect not only humans but also otherwise-harmless bacteria present in the waters, turning them into antibiotic-resistant germs.

The Zika thing seems bad, but this sounds imminently deadly to athletes and provides the potential for the Olympics to rapidly spread these infectious super-bugs around the world.

I don't like being 'alarmist', but this appears to be a likely, credible threat to world health. How logical is it to be concerned about this? Are Soylents aware of any good, practical way for participants and attendees to the Olympics in Brazil to reduce the risk of exposure and infection and then spreading this? Are you planning on attending?

Other Soylent discussion on Zika / Olympics:


Original Submission

Two Billion People Live in Areas at Risk of Zika Virus Spread 17 comments

New research has found that over 2 billion people live in parts of the world where the Zika virus can spread via mosquitoes:

More than two billion people live in parts of the world where the Zika virus can spread, detailed maps published in the journal eLife show. The Zika virus, which is spread by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, triggered a global health emergency this year. Last week the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that the virus causes severe birth defects.

The latest research showed mapping Zika was more complex than simply defining where the mosquito can survive. One of the researchers, Dr Oliver Brady from the University of Oxford, told the BBC: "These are the first maps to come out that really use the data we have for Zika - earlier maps were based on Zika being like dengue or chikungunya. "We are the first to add the very precise geographic and environmental conditions data we have on Zika." By learning where Zika could thrive the researchers could then predict where else may be affected. The researchers confirmed that large areas of South America, the focus of the current outbreak, are susceptible.

To put that in perspective, a recent estimate states: "The world population (the total number of living humans on Earth) was 7.349 billion as of July 1, 2015 according to the medium fertility estimate by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. "

Related:
El Salvador Advises Against Pregnancy until 2018 over Zika Virus Birth Defect Fears
World Health Organization to Convene Emergency Meeting for Zika Virus
WHO Calls Zika Virus Outbreak an International Health Emergency
First U.S. Zika Virus Transmission Reported, Likely via Sex Rather than Mosquito Bite
Maybe “It’s Not the Zika Virus”
Pope Francis's Plane Reports Laser Incident
Zika Virus and Birth Defects


Original Submission

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15 2016, @02:20PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15 2016, @02:20PM (#304649)

    So many stories of shit being put into the drinking water to prevent/cure x, y, or z but ultimately creating a,b, and c problems. Maybe they should just leave the fucking water alone.

    • (Score: 2) by SanityCheck on Monday February 15 2016, @02:50PM

      by SanityCheck (5190) on Monday February 15 2016, @02:50PM (#304664)

      I must say I agree with you 100%. Shit like Flint only gets to drive the point home.

      Recently I became more concerned with "shit they put in the water" to a point where I'm forgoing storing water in plastic containers, and decided to create a filtering regiment that does not contain plastic. It has been a struggle. Best I came up with so far was using glass containers to store the water, and using a charcoal stick to carbon filter the water. Of course it's rather rudimentary and I'm still using municipal water, but it is a start. $diety knows what they will eventually discover about plastic water contamination...

      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15 2016, @02:54PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15 2016, @02:54PM (#304665)

        > $diety knows what they will eventually discover about plastic water contamination...

        Store it cold. All the endocrine disruption results with respect to plastic contamination of food (like BPA) show that heat causes the chemicals to leach. So the cooler you keep the plastic, the less leaching is likely to occur.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15 2016, @03:57PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15 2016, @03:57PM (#304701)

        Don't forget to also make sure that no horrible gluten touches your precious bodily fluids either.

        • (Score: 3, Funny) by kurenai.tsubasa on Monday February 15 2016, @06:55PM

          by kurenai.tsubasa (5227) on Monday February 15 2016, @06:55PM (#304811) Journal

          I would recommend a diet of bacon++, since I've been assured that bacon is gluten-free!

          Q.v. coeliac disease [wikipedia.org]:

          Increasingly, diagnoses are being made in persons without symptoms as a result of increased screening. Globally coeliac disease affects between 1 in 100 and 1 in 170 people; rates do, however, vary between different regions of the world from as few as 1 in 300 to as many as 1 in 40.

          Diagnostic procedures include blood tests and endoscopy. No diagnosis is possible if the patient is already eating a gluten-free diet.

          Due to its high sensitivity, serology has been proposed as a screening measure, because the presence of antibodies would detect previously undiagnosed cases of coeliac disease and prevent its complications in those people. There is significant debate as to the benefits of screening. Some studies suggest that early detection would decrease the risk of osteoporosis and anaemia. In contrast, a cohort study in Cambridge suggested that people with undetected coeliac disease had a beneficial risk profile for cardiovascular disease (less overweight, lower cholesterol levels). There is limited evidence that screen-detected cases benefit from a diagnosis in terms of morbidity and mortality; hence, population-level screening is not presently thought to be beneficial.

          No discussion is present on Wikipedia in regards to the gluten-free fad that's led to bacon++ needing to have a gluten-free designation. On the other hand, I can also rest assured that bacon does not present a health hazard to people who are allergic to various nuts. Well, bacon may present a problem for the nuts at PETA and vegan hipsters, but hey.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15 2016, @11:22PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15 2016, @11:22PM (#304935)

            Bacon++ is people!

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by gnuman on Monday February 15 2016, @03:15PM

      by gnuman (5013) on Monday February 15 2016, @03:15PM (#304680)

      Maybe they should just leave the fucking water alone.

      But even larger problem is that people tend to completely dissociate that our water is the same water in which we dump all sorts of various shit.

          1. how do you think MTBE was banned? Because whatever we put in gas, ends up in water. And yet we have stupid people bitching how bad ethanol is in gasoline. What would they prefer in their drinking water - MTBE or ethanol??

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MTBE_controversy [wikipedia.org]

          2. Roundup in water. Pesticides in water. Fertilizers in water. Whatever farmers are allowed to put on the fields, ends up in water. There is only a tiny buffer of a few years between poison only being out there, and being *in us*. This is the case for Brazil's water supply too.

      but I will have to disagree that adding things to water to prevent disease is a bad thing. We already have all sort of crap in water - see above. But adding things like flouride to prevent tooth decay (mostly to facilitate enamel formation in kids), or using ozone to kill bacteria/viruses, or adding alkalinity (like calcium carbonate, or chalk) to prevent corrosion of old pipes that have lead in them, is probably a good thing.

           

      the optimal pH for lead control falls between 7.5 and 9.5, while the optimal alkalinity ranges between 30 and 75 mg/L as calcium carbonate and is typically adjusted in combination with pH adjustment.

      http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/pubs/water-eau/lead-plomb-eng.php [hc-sc.gc.ca]

      We are MUCH more careful when adding things deliberately, than the stuff we spray around and expect never to end up in our water (and it does!)

      Anyway, the bottom line is, what we put in our environment, we end up drinking ourselves.

      There are biological larvacides. And dragonflies and minnows - not much resistance mosquitoes can develop to being eaten. So using chemicals these days for mosquitoes is insanity.

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larvicide [wikipedia.org]

      • (Score: 2) by gnuman on Monday February 15 2016, @03:28PM

        by gnuman (5013) on Monday February 15 2016, @03:28PM (#304685)

        OK, actually read TFA now,

        In a recent report by the Physicians in the Crop-Sprayed Towns (PCST), the group revealed that the area in which most of the afflicted persons live had been sprayed with a larvicide known to cause birth defects.

        The chemical, pyriproxyfen, was added to the state of Pernambuco’s drinking-water reservoirs in 2014, by the Brazilian Ministry of Health, in an effort to stop the proliferation of the Zika-carrying Aedes aegypti mosquito.

        Insanity!

        • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15 2016, @06:01PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15 2016, @06:01PM (#304789)

          People messing with systems they do not understand doing more harm than good and then misattributing the source of problem is old news:

          In February 1919…Edward's fever kept getting higher and higher…aspirin…was given to him by the 1/2-handful over and over…Edward sweated through his mattress…Dr.…could not save his patient.

          http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/49/9/1405.full [oxfordjournals.org]

        • (Score: 2) by BK on Monday February 15 2016, @09:15PM

          by BK (4868) on Monday February 15 2016, @09:15PM (#304871)

          Yep Insanity. At least DDT would have killed the damn mosquitoes.

          --
          ...but you HAVE heard of me.
  • (Score: 3, Informative) by khallow on Monday February 15 2016, @02:58PM

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday February 15 2016, @02:58PM (#304667) Journal
    Reading up on pyriproxyfen, there is no supporting evidence for the claim that it causes these birth defects. It's been tested for that sort of problem. Further, it's been in use for about 20 years in the US, including individual-level products. I think if it really did cause microcephaly, there would be glaring evidence of this in the US. However, there are two other possibilities that need to be considered. First, is that the insecticide was mixed with another compound that does have this particular effect (say a contractor saving a buck by cutting the insecticide with a cheaper and more dangerous compound). Second, that pyriproxyfen interacted with whatever exists for water treatment in these areas.

    The thing is, I'm reading that they've found a few Brazilian infants who died from microcephaly within a short while of birth and had evidence of Zika virus in their brains (in other words, it not only was transmitted from mother to fetus, but also passed the blood-brain barrier). If that is true, then that's a strong indication that Zika virus is responsible rather than the mosquito spraying.
    • (Score: 2) by basicbasicbasic on Monday February 15 2016, @03:02PM

      by basicbasicbasic (411) on Monday February 15 2016, @03:02PM (#304671)

      I think if it really did cause microcephaly, there would be glaring evidence of this in the US

      Only if it had been added to the drinking water, as in Brazil.

      • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday February 15 2016, @08:32PM

        by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday February 15 2016, @08:32PM (#304853) Journal

        Only if it had been added to the drinking water, as in Brazil.

        There are many other ways you can ingest stuff like this.

        • (Score: 2) by basicbasicbasic on Monday February 15 2016, @11:44PM

          by basicbasicbasic (411) on Monday February 15 2016, @11:44PM (#304952)

          Yes, but the only way to see how it affects pregnant women when it's in the water supply is to have it in the water supply of pregnant women.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 16 2016, @11:07AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 16 2016, @11:07AM (#305130)
            And have very many pregnant women drink the water.

            The average person might be able to survive taking many different toxins at a low level. But there are significant numbers of others who can die just because they were kissed by someone who ate peanut butter.

            Thus it's crazy to put pyriproxyfen into drinking water unless there's a potential great need to have it in the drinking water of billions of humans (e.g. it somehow makes us toxic to enemy aliens) and this is a test run to see what else would happen to humans.
          • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday February 16 2016, @02:11PM

            by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 16 2016, @02:11PM (#305173) Journal

            Yes, but the only way to see how it affects pregnant women when it's in the water supply is to have it in the water supply of pregnant women.

            My point is that there's other ways for pregnant women to ingest this chemical such as using it in the house to kill fleas.

            • (Score: 2) by basicbasicbasic on Tuesday February 16 2016, @03:17PM

              by basicbasicbasic (411) on Tuesday February 16 2016, @03:17PM (#305210)

              Exposure isn't all or nothing, though; occasional exposure to a substance through infrequent skin contact or inhaling is very different to prolonged continuous exposure through drinking it, bathing in it, and cooking food in it.

              If there is a period during pregnancy when a foetus is susceptible to pyriproxyfen then a mother has a much higher chance of being affected by it then if it is constantly in her system from drinking it every day than if she occasionally uses some flea powder that contains it.

              • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday February 16 2016, @03:31PM

                by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 16 2016, @03:31PM (#305217) Journal

                Exposure isn't all or nothing, though; occasional exposure to a substance through infrequent skin contact or inhaling is very different to prolonged continuous exposure through drinking it, bathing in it, and cooking food in it.

                Or putting it in your carpet.

                • (Score: 2) by basicbasicbasic on Tuesday February 16 2016, @03:34PM

                  by basicbasicbasic (411) on Tuesday February 16 2016, @03:34PM (#305219)

                  I'll have to agree to differ with you that putting something on your carpet is the same as drinking it.

                  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday February 16 2016, @07:15PM

                    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday February 16 2016, @07:15PM (#305298) Journal

                    I'll have to agree to differ with you that putting something on your carpet is the same as drinking it.

                    I don't really see the difference myself. It doesn't matter how it gets used once it gets in your body. Instead, it matters how much gets into your body. Dose makes the poison. And I wouldn't buy that small continual doses are worse than large short term doses. This doesn't sound like a toxin that accumulates in the body.

    • (Score: 0, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15 2016, @03:22PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15 2016, @03:22PM (#304683)

      Further, it's been in use for about 20 years in the US, including individual-level products. I think if it really did cause microcephaly, there would be glaring evidence of this in the US.

      seeing how many people vote for Donald Trump... i suspect that not only is causing microcephaly, but it is also affecting adults!! :D

    • (Score: 2) by VLM on Monday February 15 2016, @04:20PM

      by VLM (445) on Monday February 15 2016, @04:20PM (#304715)

      http://sitem.herts.ac.uk/aeru/ppdb/en/Reports/574.htm [herts.ac.uk]

      Your first case is extremely likely to be a problem. Would not be the first time someone cut corners, or used a weird non-active ingredient that unfortunately was extremely active after all. Reminds me of roundup, where the solvent soapy crud used to make it easy to spread is believed by some to be more toxic to humans than the active ingredient itself which is pretty harmless unless you're a specific kind of photsynthesizing plant.

      This specific molecule does seem mostly harmless. Not sure why its being pushed other than the traditional "Monsanto is evil". Which they may be, but that has nothing to do with this molecule being unusually newly found to be naughty.

      The LD50 for mammals is insane, 5 grams per Kg of body weight? I can see why they use this stuff in pet flea powders. Which brings up the interesting question, if you dust cats for decades with this stuff, and every mg of the stuff ends up inside the stomach of the cat or the owner, why hasn't the world already had an epidemic in cat-land and human-land? This stuff isn't new.

      The second question relates to the degradation section of the pesticide report.

      So its permanently stable in dark water, but the half life is a couple days in the sunlight. So spray a lake that supplies drinking water, and if its shallow the UV breaks half of it down every ten days. But if its a deep lake, or full of sediment or algae that block sunlight, it just accumulates more or less forever.

      There is probably a correlation/causation effect at work. You have a massive epidemic, you have lot of victims. That doesn't mean every car accident and industrial accident was caused by a virus carrier, it just means practically everyone is sick or a carrier, so every idiot who drops a hammer on their foot probably was also independently sick.

      As a psyop, if this is yet another "Monsanto is evil" then this is probably being pushed as a distraction from whatever they really did. Including possibly nothing at all.

  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15 2016, @02:59PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15 2016, @02:59PM (#304669)

    A better article with more information about the scientific and political aspects, and also an update that the Brazilian state Rio Grande de Sul has now suspended the use of Pyriproxyfen in drinking water:

    http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/2987137/argentine_and_brazilian_doctors_suspect_mosquito_insecticide_as_cause_of_microcephaly.html [theecologist.org]

    The thing that breaks my heart about the case is the stories from worried pregnant women who were doing everything they could to prevent themselves from being bitten by mosquitos to protect their babies, only for the cause to turn out to be the water they thought was safe and were still drinking.

    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Monday February 15 2016, @09:29PM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Monday February 15 2016, @09:29PM (#304879) Journal
      We don't know that it is the drinking water! Despite the assertion in the story, it doesn't appear that pyriproxyfen is known to cause birth defects. If it is though, someone caused several thousand families to endure a lot of suffering and should pay dearly for that.
  • (Score: 2) by inertnet on Monday February 15 2016, @03:21PM

    by inertnet (4071) Subscriber Badge on Monday February 15 2016, @03:21PM (#304682) Journal

    This is devastating news and it has to be confirmed or invalidated as soon as possible. I assume it won't take 9 months after stopping the addition in drinking water, but how long will it take? A couple more months of uncertainty/agony for these people?

    BTW I think I had this virus about 15 years ago when I was in the tropics. I had the skin symptoms and a fever, a doctor told me it was a harmless virus that I would simply get rid of by myself in 7 days. He didn't tell me the name of the virus but he was right about it going away after a few days.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15 2016, @03:33PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15 2016, @03:33PM (#304687)

      They are taking it out of the water and I think it is a safe bet that Brazilians will continue to make babies like rabbits. So, yeah, in about nine months from the day they stop putting this stuff in the water.

      • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Monday February 15 2016, @04:51PM

        by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Monday February 15 2016, @04:51PM (#304735) Homepage Journal

        I think you're being at least a littel overly optimistic. It hasn't been made clear to me at what point the stuff was added to the drinking water. I mean - there's no need to add the stuff at the intake pipes. There's no need to kill mosquitos in the processing plant. There aren't any mosquitos in the plumbing between the processing plant, and homes. I presume that the toxins were put into the reservoirs, where mosquitos were breeding.

        So, I suspect that you're going to have steadily decreasing amounts of the poison over a period of several months, and maybe even a year. And, like the supply of toxin, the supply of microcephelic babies will decrease, steadily over a period of time. A year? Two years? Most certainly not as long as three years, but definitely more than 9 months.

        --
        "no more than 8 bullets in a round" - Joe Biden
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by wonkey_monkey on Monday February 15 2016, @03:45PM

    by wonkey_monkey (279) on Monday February 15 2016, @03:45PM (#304693) Homepage

    Maybe “It’s Not the Zika Virus”.

    Has someone (anyone worth listening to) actually said "it's not the Zika virus"?

    It appears in quotes in the thefreethoughtproject.com headline as well, but that article also doesn't attribute the (quote) "quote" (end quote) either.

    --
    systemd is Roko's Basilisk
    • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15 2016, @04:34PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15 2016, @04:34PM (#304724)

      The quotes are easily explainable: martyb made a mistake. He was chatting in IRC about which band should play at the yearly Soylent BBQ, and at the same time, editing this article. He wanted to suggest the indietronic vaporwave musician known as "It's Not The Zika Virus", but keyboard focus was on the wrong window.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15 2016, @04:41PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15 2016, @04:41PM (#304730)

      Another day, another pedantic nitpick that does nothing but add noise and reduce signal.

      • (Score: 2) by wonkey_monkey on Monday February 15 2016, @05:01PM

        by wonkey_monkey (279) on Monday February 15 2016, @05:01PM (#304746) Homepage

        As opposed to stated-as-fact unattributed quotes, which are fine?

        --
        systemd is Roko's Basilisk
        • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15 2016, @05:21PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15 2016, @05:21PM (#304768)

          "Unattributed quotes are totally rad." -- (author unknown)

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by frojack on Monday February 15 2016, @05:57PM

      by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Monday February 15 2016, @05:57PM (#304787) Journal

      The title of TFA simply contained the claim: It's not the Zika virus.

      In submitting the story, I wasn't prepared to go that far, so I put it in quotes, and added the word Maybe.

      TFA also contained a link to a NATURE [nature.com] article which expresses a certain amount of doubt and indicates the degree of uncertainty among scientists.

      TFA was written by a college student in the US. It cites reports from Brazil. I'm not sure how you determine if "someone is worth listening to" other than following the links in the story, and the links in those links. Even, after following those links to the individual authors, and checking their education and training and credentials, it would still not be clear to me if those doctors were "worth listening to".

      But start here:
      http://www.reduas.com.ar/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2016/02/Informe-Zika-de-Reduas_TRAD.pdf [reduas.com.ar]
      (The original report from "Physicians in the Crop-Sprayed Villages".

      Follow that to:
      https://www.abrasco.org.br/site/2016/02/nota-tecnica-sobre-microcefalia-e-doencas-vetoriais-relacionadas-ao-aedes-aegypti-os-perigos-das-abordagens-com-larvicidas-e-nebulizacoes-quimicas-fumace/ [abrasco.org.br] (Portuguese) the Brazilian Association of Collective Health - Abrasco

      In the end, only you can decide if any of these sources are "worth listening to". I just don't know.

      But I do know that government cover-ups aren't something that only happen in the US, or Flint Michigan, and Nobody has yet explained the absence of birth defects in Columbia and Yap with similar Zika epidemics.

      --
      No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
      • (Score: 2) by wonkey_monkey on Monday February 15 2016, @06:39PM

        by wonkey_monkey (279) on Monday February 15 2016, @06:39PM (#304805) Homepage

        The title of TFA simply contained the claim: It's not the Zika virus.

        In submitting the story, I wasn't prepared to go that far, so I put it in quotes

        That's the thing though - the headline of TFA also puts it in quotes. If they hadn't, then I'd lay the blame for stating a theory as fact at their door - but they seem to have offloaded responsibility for it by quoting without an attribution.

        (I'd have put '“It’s not the Zika virus” - maybe' which I think looks slightly clearer as to where the quotation starts and ends and the qualification of it)

        --
        systemd is Roko's Basilisk
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15 2016, @07:21PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15 2016, @07:21PM (#304823)

          Even an unattributed quote is better evidence than no quote at all, especially if the quote was important enough to make it into the title. Unless there is an article with "It's the Zika Virus" in the title, I think we have to go with not. Otherwise you are ignoring evidence, which is pseudoscience.

          • (Score: 2) by wonkey_monkey on Monday February 15 2016, @08:52PM

            by wonkey_monkey (279) on Monday February 15 2016, @08:52PM (#304864) Homepage

            Even an unattributed quote is better evidence than no quote at all

            No it isn't.

            Otherwise you are ignoring evidence, which is pseudoscience.

            It's not evidence. It's no better then hearsay - in fact, it's worse, because we can't ascertain who said it or why. Assuming any credence of such a thing is what would be pseudoscientific.

            --
            systemd is Roko's Basilisk
            • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15 2016, @09:33PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15 2016, @09:33PM (#304880)

              The other thing to worry about is that we are already supposed to know the origin of the quote and they are laughing at us and calling us idiots, causing us to lose all credibility just for questioning such an obvious quote. For example, if someone wrote an article with "systemd is Roko's Basilisk" in the title, regular readers here would immediately understand the source of the quote. Sometimes it is safer just to not question things you don't understand, it might make you look stupid.

            • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15 2016, @09:48PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15 2016, @09:48PM (#304890)

              Another thing. Don't you think a person who gets to choose the words in the TITLE must have worked pretty hard and/or be exceptionally smart? There is a reason why the title goes on top of the page and the comments go at the bottom, it seems arrogant for a comment to question the title to begin with.

            • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15 2016, @10:07PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15 2016, @10:07PM (#304898)

              Someone please mod the previous three AC comments down. I was play-acting to get in the mindset of the type of person who puts quotation marks in the title as clickbait, now I feel dirty.

        • (Score: 2) by frojack on Monday February 15 2016, @07:24PM

          by frojack (1554) Subscriber Badge on Monday February 15 2016, @07:24PM (#304826) Journal

          Yeah, I assumed those words from TFA author (Jay Syrmopoulos) were his boil-down of the Physicians in the Crop-Sprayed Towns report, but I'm not sure if that is right or not. That phrase does not exist even in the PCST document, which oddly appears only in an English PDF.

          Further, the much longer ABRASCO [abrasco.org.br] document doesn't appear to use those words either, but then I have to read that via Google Translate, so it might be in there.

          The ABRASCO paper did point out that in addition to the recent (2014) introduction of Pyriproxyfen, the government has been for 40 years and continues to spray Malathion in these affected areas, as well as direct addition of these to the water cisterns, rather than screening the cisterns to prevent mosquito breeding.

          The ABRASCO article carries something of politically charged undertone, but does suggest the whole mosquito control approach has been an utter colossal failure, and a cure far worse than the disease.

          --
          No, you are mistaken. I've always had this sig.
  • (Score: 5, Informative) by Hartree on Monday February 15 2016, @05:43PM

    by Hartree (195) on Monday February 15 2016, @05:43PM (#304783)

    "And prior outbreaks did not exhibit any linkage to Microcephaly or Guillain-Barre."

    Not true. The link isn't proven, but it was suspected at the time for neurological problems during the French Polynesia outbreak. Going back to the records, there was an increase in microcephaly during that time. It wasn't noted at the time. It's a much smaller set of numbers.

    From a report by the European CDC back in November: http://ecdc.europa.eu/en/publications/Publications/zika-microcephaly-Brazil-rapid-risk-assessment-Nov-2015.pdf [europa.eu]

    "On 24 November 2015, the health authorities of French Polynesia reported an unusual increase of at least 17 cases of central nervous system malformations in foetuses and infants during 2014–2015, coinciding with the Zika outbreaks on the French Polynesian islands. These malformations consisted of 12 foetal cerebral malformations or polymalformative syndromes, including brain lesions, and five infants reported with brainstem dysfunction and absence of swallowing. None of the pregnant women described clinical signs of ZIKV infection, but the four tested were found positive by IgG serology assays for flavivirus, suggesting a possible asymptomatic ZIKV infection. Further serological investigations are ongoing. Based on the temporal correlation of these cases with the Zika epidemic, the health authorities of French Polynesia hypothesise that ZIKV infection may be associated with these abnormalities if mothers are infected during the first or second trimester of pregnancy."

    We don't know that it's Zika doing it to the level required for saying so definitely, but there is considerable evidence. See, for example V. Raccaniello's blog at www.virology.ws.

    Could it be something else? Sure. Could it be multiple factors, some that are much more present in Brazil than other places? Sure. But let's do the science first.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by kbahey on Monday February 15 2016, @07:47PM

    by kbahey (1147) on Monday February 15 2016, @07:47PM (#304833) Homepage