from the no-laughing-matter dept.
The Zika virus has been known for quite some time, but it gained notoriety recently due to its possible linkage to birth defects.
Science News has a summary report on Zika virus:
A report on the studies of its possible linkage to microcephaly, a birth defect of babies with undersized and underdeveloped brains:
In short, studies are continuing, evidence is mounting, but still not quite a confirmation.
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. "
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Zika Virus and Birth Defects
(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @02:59AM
I must insist on double-blind, otherwise the study is not scientific.
You don't believe me? Ask the mighty buzz.
(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @03:09AM
One of the worst aspects of climate change is the loss or northern shift of four-season temperate zones away from current areas of dense human population, leaving behind climates hospitable to vast assortments of dangerous and novel critters ranging from microscopic to larger than man.
(Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday March 29 2016, @04:35AM
Solution: occupy those niches before the critters do.
After losing the War on Drugs and with the War on Terrorism not putting enough in the MilInd coffers, the War on Critters becomes a necessity.
(Score: 1) by khallow on Tuesday March 29 2016, @04:48AM
(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @03:59PM
No question the critters are adaptive, but I'd rather we don't help them out by making an ideal habitat for their colonies. Florida has a much bigger problem with invasive species compared to the US northeast. That doesn't mean you can't find these pests living in the wild up north.
(Score: 2) by HiThere on Tuesday March 29 2016, @07:02PM
Not clear, though possibly true. Zitka seems to require a particular species of mosquito, which I don't believe is currently present. A coulple of cases in Florida an Texas may mean that it's starting to arrive...or may represent some other source of infection. I believe shared bodily fluids could do it, possibly even a kiss. And most people are essentially asymptomatic.
OTOH, I'm not an expert in any of the related areas. I'm relying on vague memories of general science news reporting, so any of this could be wrong in two or three different ways.
(Score: 3, Informative) by khallow on Thursday March 31 2016, @02:12PM
A study published online Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine shows the potential range of Aedes aegypti, a tropical mosquito species that is the primary carrier of Zika, blanketing the southern U.S. and reaching as far north as San Francisco; Kansas City, Mo.; and New York City. The likely extent of another Zika-carrying mosquito species, Aedes albopictus, stretched across the Southwest and covered most of the eastern U.S., including northern New England, according to the study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Previously, the CDC’s maps showed the ranges of both species generally concentrated in the South, though Aedes albopictus ranged north to New York City and Illinois. The changes were based on new data collected by the CDC and its local partners that show where the mosquitoes have been found. Areas where the mosquitoes are endemic—Puerto Rico, Hawaii and the Gulf states—remained the same.
(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @04:12AM
In medicine this means they've cherry picked enough (usually about 5) positive/negative correlations that are consistent with some favored speculation (while ignoring the others that don't fit). We still won't know what happened decades after this, because there will be no model making falsifiable predictions ever tested.
(Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday March 29 2016, @04:41AM
And... do we really need to know [soylentnews.org]?
(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @04:53AM
Double blind just minimizes inaccurate measurements due to researcher biases. Unless that is the only other explanation for some observation it doesn't help much. Definately a cheap and useful tool that should be used wherever possible though.
(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @05:00AM
(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @05:17AM
As a group, biologists don't seem to put much effort into figuring out the consequences of their theories or designing studies to rule out as many explanations as possible. That is probably why.
(Score: 2) by deimtee on Tuesday March 29 2016, @10:49AM
"Under the most carefully controlled conditions of light, temperature, humidity, pressure, and nutrient concentrations, the organism will do whatever it damn well pleases."
- every biologist ever.
No problem is insoluble, but at Ksp = 2.943×10−25 Mercury Sulphide comes close.
(Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @11:03AM
That is just because hey are bad at their jobs. My experience was very similar to this:
People in these areas do NOT want to do the necessary work, they prefer to come up with excuses about how it is all "so complicated".
(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @02:45PM
Infectious disease is easier to demonstrate than psychology studies.
(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @07:10PM
We don't really want to know. Should it turn out that Zika is beneficial, the public health authorities who warned against it will be embarrassed.
(Score: 2) by bart9h on Tuesday March 29 2016, @02:33PM
Fact is, Medicine is still in the stone age. We know very very little of how things actually work, 99% of the so called "science" in this area is just statistics.
(Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @02:56PM
Fact is, Medicine is still in the stone age.
Really? I'm not sure I'll take your word for it.
(Score: 2) by FakeBeldin on Tuesday March 29 2016, @11:30AM
The country urged women not to get pregnant until 2018... e.g. Daily Mail [dailymail.co.uk], Refinery29 [refinery29.com], Volkskrant [volkskrant.nl], etc.
Just imagine a situation where you feel advising people not to get pregnant for 2 years is better than the effect that THAT will have on your nation. For El Salvador, apparently, current evidence linking Zika to birth defects is good enough.
(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @01:17PM
Has anybody mentioned that Monsanto introduced pyriproxyfen to the water supply of the countries where Zika is prevalent just a couple of years ago? This chemical was introduced to kill insect larvae. Guess what? Nobody ever tested it on humans (or worse, Monsanto decided to test it on poor brown people). Now we are finding a correlation with children being born with brain defects?
Who knew? That introducing a poison to drinking water which is used to kill mosquitoes would cause brain defects when that same water is drank by humans?
Zika has been around for 50 years. It started in Africa, moved to Asia, and then went to South America with the World Cup in 2014. NO OTHER PLACE IN THE WORLD has Zika been "linked" to microcephaly. It was only after Monsanto introduced this poison to the drinking water that we have brain defects. Hmmm. I think I might see what's really going on here. As a matter of fact, doctors in Argentina have also debunked the link of Zika and raise the point of the pyriproxyfen in drinking water.
(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @03:04PM
The virus was in Brazil before the World Cup and pyriproxyfen is not associated with microcephaly. There has also been virus isolated directly from the CNS.
(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @03:37PM
You still never answered the questions: why doesn't Zika cause microcephaly in other countries? And why did microcephaly only start after pyriproxyfen was added to the drinking water?
(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 29 2016, @05:06PM
Brazil has a large Zika naive population while other countries have had Zika for a while. It looks like acute Zika virus infection during fetal development is what is causing the problem.
Microcephaly isn't only occurring in areas with Pyriproxyfen.
(Score: 3, Informative) by HiThere on Tuesday March 29 2016, @07:20PM
Are you the same person who made this same claim last time this came up? I went looking for evidence to substantiate your claim, and what I found was that everywhere Zitka is associated with neural abnormalities. This makes it causing microcephaly quite plausible. It's not an inevitable effect, so it probably depends on exactly what stage of the pregnacy the infection occurs in, and on how severe a case the infection is. Also most people who catch Zitka have minor symptoms, minor enough that it often isn't reported. This would make tieing the cause to the result difficult.
My guess is that this is an effect of Zitka that has always been present, it just hasn't been noticed. Detecting it depends on good public health records and lots of statistical correlation. And being able to test for residual antibodies. Etc. Things that have only recently started to become widely available.
(Score: 3, Informative) by gidds on Thursday March 31 2016, @10:30AM
According to Snopes [snopes.com]: