Marco Cáceres di Iorio

Viruses are Not Inherently Bad

One of the problems with the current and evolving discussion within within the global health community and the media about the Zika virus (… Have you seen all those cockeyed, sensationalistic headlines?) is the assumption that the virus is dangerous and we should all be worried about its spread. This is similar to what has occurred with the poliovirus. The fact is that the vast portion of the people who have either of these two viruses exhibit no symptoms or have very mild symptoms.

In the case of polio, 95% of the people who have the poliovirus show no symptoms at all.1 Less than 1% of those who have the poliovirus will develop any sort of paralysis, and of those small number of cases less than 10% result in death.2  The vast number of people who have the poliovirus just go about their daily lives as if nothing. Still, the poliovirus has been made out to be a monster which we must attack and destroy.

Is it possible that we may be doing the same thing now with Zika, and are unnecessarily overreacting out of a sense of fear of the unknown? Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff has already publicly declared war on Zika and the mosquitoes that carry the virus.

We must wage war against the Aedes aegypti, the vector of dengue, of chikungunya and of Zika.

While we do not have a vaccine against the Zika virus, the war must be concentrated on the elimination of breeding grounds for the mosquito. Getting rid of Zika is the responsibility of all of us.3  

And yet, about 80% of people who have Zika will not develop symptoms. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only about one out of every five people infected with the virus will become ill, and the illness is usually “mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week.”4 The most common symptoms of the virus are “fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes).”4 Hardly something monstrous to fear—much less declare war on.

The media, along with many within the scientific, medical and public health communities, have irresponsibly pushed the idea that a virus is like a terrorist—something threatening that we must attack and destroy before it attacks and kills us. The same thoroughly unscientific mentality has been disseminated widely with regard to bacteria, disease, and fever.

The truth is that we carry lots of viruses within us all the time, and they don’t harm us in the least bit. And some of them actually do good things for us. “Viruses, like bacteria, can be important beneficial microbes in human health and in agriculture,”5 notes Marilyn Roossinck, PhD, who is a professor of Plant Pathology and Environmental Microbiology and Biology at Pennsylvania State University at University Park.

Viruses are beyond a doubt the coolest things I have ever encountered. They do truly amazing things with very little genetic information. I was always a little disturbed at the bad rap they get, so it was very exciting for me to find good ones.5  

Take, for example, what chiropractor Ben Kim of Toronto, Canada says about the viruses that cause the common cold and the flu. According to Dr. Kim:

By and large, the viruses that cause the common cold and the flu infect mainly your weakest cells; cells that are already burdened with excessive waste products and toxins are most likely to allow viruses to infect them. These are cells that you want to get rid of anyway, to be replaced by new, healthy cells. So in the big scheme of things, a cold or flu is a natural event that can allow your body to purge itself of old and damaged cells that, in the absence of viral infection, would normally take much longer to identify, destroy, and eliminate.6  

While we don’t know nearly as much about viruses as we do bacteria, the assumption that having a virus is an inherently bad thing is a false one, and clearly not based on science.

So instead of almost exclusively posing questions to public health officials and medical researchers involved in the Zica-microcephaly global health emergency such as “Do we know what’s causing the spread of the Zika virus?” and “What can we do to combat it?” … questions that assume we have correctly identified the enemy and must now engage and defeat it by all means possible, perhaps the media might consider thinking out of the box a little.

Maybe mix it up a bit with questions like… “Why are we assuming that Zika is any threat to us at all?” and “What other things going on in Brazil could be causing the epidemic of microcephaly there?” Or even… “Have many of the microcephaly cases in Brazil been misdiagnosed, and thus is there an epidemic there at all?”

Not everything bad that happens in the world is due to a virus.


1 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Public Health Image Library (PHIL).
2 Global Health. Global Health Topics: Polio.
3 Eisenhammer S. Brazil’s Rousseff declares war on mosquito spreading Zika virus.Reuters Jan. 27, 2016.
4 CDC. Zika Virus: Symptoms, Diagnosis, & Treatment.
5 Stallard B. Viruses: They’re Not All Bad, Says Expert. Nature World News May 13, 2015.
6 Kim B. What Most Doctors Won’t Tell You About Colds and Flus. Mar. 5. 2014.

2 Responses to “Viruses are Not Inherently Bad”

  1. anonimo

    zika is fraud. 4000 cases of microcephaly this number reduced to 270 zika suspects and only 8 confirmed with zika with microcefaliar
    cases of zika is the northeast region of Brazil. There decades in Africa and has no reporting microcefaliar in Africa.

    Brazil has 205 million people on average have less 300 cases. US averages 2500 to 25,000 per year. 86% of the cases concentrated northeastern Brazil and not in the whole Brazil which in northeast signal is concentrated where more cases of zika and microcefaliar in Brazil and which has more cases of anomaliar where transgenic mosquitoes were played.
    “Workers Party” PT “which is the feminist movement and the government is interested in legalizing abortion in general Brazil ……. they will get in the coming months in the Supreme Court with federal safety mandate to legalize abortion by the Supreme because the national congress did not pass. the same government that prohibits pilular cancer not expect anything else, since the voters of Rousseff believe she’s doing good of Brazil.
     The President of Brazil Dilma wants to use combat the mosquito that transmits dengue and zika etc …. to distract the people, because your government is in the news involved in several corruption scandals involving members of his party and allies arrested for corruption and the process impeachment in the coming months. use mosquito fight to distract the people, but many Brazilians have already agreed to it.

    website 1

    site 2

    site 3

     of Rio Grande do Sul The government suspended on Saturday (13) the use of water for human consumption pyriproxyfen larvicide used to stop the development of mosquito larvae Aedes aegypti, the transmitter zika virus. The product is manufactured by Sumitomo Chemical.

    science site belying Humbug zika:

    Video 1
    Video 2




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