“A causal relationship between Zika virus infection and birth malformations and neurological syndromes has not yet been established, but is strongly suspected.”
“Although a causal link between Zika infection in pregnancy and microcephaly has not—an I must emphasize—has not been established, the circumstantial evidence is suggestive and extremely worrisome. An increased occurrence of neurological symptoms, noted in some countries coincident with arrival of the virus, adds to the concern.
“The lack of vaccines and reliable diagnostics tests and the absence of population immunity in newly affected countries were cited as further cases for concern.”
“I am now declaring that the recent cluster of microcephaly and other neurological abnormalities reported in Latin America following a similar cluster in French Polynesia in 2014 constitutes a public health emergency of international concern.”
“If indeed, the scientific linkage between Zika and microcephaly is established, can you imagine if we do not do all this work now and wait until the scientific evidence comes out?. Then people will say, ‘Why didn’t you take action?”‘
— Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Organization
Based on “circumstantial evidence” and “strong suspicions,” and just to be on the safe side, the World Health Organization has declared a global public health emergency due to the Zika virus. Governments are advising women not to get pregnant for the foreseeable future. Pharmaceutical companies around the world are revving up to develop a vaccine against Zika.
Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff has declared “war” on Zika and the mosquitoes who carry the virus. She has deployed 220,000 soldiers in her country to go door to door to teach mothers about the mosquitoes and to spray everything in sight with highly toxic chemicals to kill the pests (… the mosquitoes, that is).
The US Centers for Disease Control is warning pregnant women to avoid traveling to Brazil. It (… and Sanjay Gupta) is recommending people use the toxic insecticide DEET to protect against mosquitoes which may be carrying Zika. There are also rumors now that Zika can be transmitted through sexual intercourse. Yep, sex sells.
Newspaper and magazine headlines are filled with powerful insinuations about the causal relationship (as if it’s a done deal) between Zika and the microcephaly cases and our desperate need to come up with a Zika vaccine as soon as possible. Brother, we need savin’! The stock prices of numerous pharmaceutical companies such as Inovio Pharmaceuticals are rising quickly on expectations of lots of money to be made by this global public health emergency.
Zika has become a boon market almost overnight. Everyone’s talking about it. It’s all so exciting! I can’t stand it. And yet, it’s all based on circumstantial evidence and strong suspicions involving a virus that has long been known to be relatively harmless and not known to be associated with microcephaly.