When a television report was released on Australian TV showing a number of Brazilian infants affected by a condition called Microcephaly, a condition in which infants are born with smaller than normal brains, alarmist media reports surfaced simultaneously.
The Brazilian ministry for health linked the microcephaly with the Zika virus, a mosquito borne infection.
Then Fairfax media announced that the first case of Zika virus had been discovered in Australia, but qualified the report by saying that the infection had occurred some seven years ago, contracted overseas and that symptoms were mild.
Then the Murdoch press reported the same story but somehow left off the bit that said it had happened seven years ago, hinting that it was a recent event in Australia.
Then the number of confirmed cases escalated to 26 in the print media, and was immediately accompanied by a report that mosquitoes that could carry the virus were found flying around in Sydney airport.
Next, the World Health Organisation declared the current outbreak of the mosquito-borne Zika virus a global public health emergency.
WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said an international coordinated response was needed, although restrictions on travel or trade were not necessary.
The emergency designation was recommended by a committee of independent experts to the United Nations agency following criticism of a hesitant response so far.
The WHO said last week the Zika virus was “spreading explosively” and could infect as many as four million people in the Americas.
This agency was previousl criticised for reacting too slowly to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa which killed more than 10,000 people, and had promised to do better in future global health crises.
The WHO’s International Health Regulations emergency committee brought together experts in epidemiology, public health and infectious diseases from the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa.
Brazil has reported nearly 4000 suspected cases of microcephaly, in which infants are born with smaller-than-usual brains.
The Brazilian health ministry has linked the condition to Zika, although the connection is not yet definitive.
Then a report out of Canada that they would have a vaccine within twelve months!
We now have a WHO initiated public health emergency built around Zika infection, and no confirmed link to microcephaly?
And for a condition that has been around Brazil, surrounding countries, Africa and some Pacific Islands for a very long time.
And that it causes an itchy rash at worst that only becomes unsightly if not treated.
No deaths and no prior deformities, and most unaware that they have been infected!
But no sex please because it can be transmitted through intercourse!
Yet Brazilian Health Minister Marcelo Castro said that the epidemic was worse than believed because in 80 per cent of the cases the infected people had no symptoms.
But there is a major suspect that is not being reported in mainstream media.
And the story is a horror story!
Waterways in poor communities in Brazil have been sprayed with a larvicide to kill Zika and Dengue carrying mosquitoes.
Called Pyriproxyfen, it is a growth inhibitor of mosquito larvae that alters the development process from larva to pupa to adult, thus generating malformations in developing mosquitoes and killing or disabling them.
Repeat – Pyriproxyfen is a growth inhibitor of developing organisms!
Doesn’t that raise question marks when considering the under-developed cranial and neurological systems of the children being permanently damaged in all this?
GM Watch online publication has recently published a report from the Argentine doctors’ organisation, Physicians in the Crop-Sprayed Towns, and challenged the theory that the Zika virus epidemic in Brazil is the cause of the increase in the birth defect microcephaly among newborns.
Their version of events follows:
The increase in this birth defect, in which a baby is born with an abnormally small head and often has brain damage, was quickly linked to the Zika virus by the Brazilian Ministry of Health. However, according to the Physicians in the Crop-Sprayed Towns, the Ministry failed to recognise that in the area where most sick people live, a chemical larvicide that produces malformations in mosquitoes was introduced into the drinking water supply in 2014. This poison, Pyriproxyfen, is used in a State-controlled program aimed at eradicating disease-carrying mosquitoes.
The Physicians added that the Pyriproxyfen is manufactured by Sumitomo Chemical, a Japanese “strategic partner” of Monsanto. 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), according to the Physicians.
The Physicians commented: “Malformations detected in thousands of children from pregnant women living in areas where the Brazilian state added Pyriproxyfen to drinking water are not a coincidence, even though the Ministry of Health places a direct blame on the Zika virus for this damage.”
They also noted that Zika has traditionally been held to be a relatively benign disease that has never before been associated with birth defects, even in areas where it infects 75% of the population.
Larvicide the most likely culprit in birth defects
Pyriproxyfen is a relatively new introduction to the Brazilian environment; the microcephaly increase is a relatively new phenomenon. So the larvicide seems a plausible causative factor in microcephaly – far more so than GM mosquitoes, which some have blamed for the Zika epidemic and thus for the birth defects. There is no sound evidence to support the notion promoted by some sources that GM mosquitoes can cause Zika, which in turn can cause microcephaly.
In fact, out of 404 confirmed microcephaly cases in Brazil, only 17 (4.2%) tested positive for the Zika virus.
Brazilian health experts agree Pyriproxyfen is suspect
The Argentine Physicians’ report, which also addresses the Dengue fever epidemic in Brazil, concurs with the findings of a separate report on the Zika outbreak by the Brazilian doctors’ and public health researchers’ organisation, Abrasco.
Abrasco also names Pyriproxyfen as a potential factor in the outbreak of microcephaly cases and calls for suspension of its use. It condemns the strategy of chemical control of Zika-carrying mosquitoes, which it says is contaminating the environment as well as people and is not decreasing the numbers of mosquitoes. Abrasco suggests that this strategy is in fact driven by the commercial interests of the chemical industry, which it says is deeply integrated into the Latin American ministries of health, as well as the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organisation.
Abrasco names the British GM insect company Oxitec as part of the corporate lobby that is distorting the facts about Zika to suit its own profit-making agenda. Oxitec sells GM mosquitoes engineered for sterility and markets them as a disease-combatting product – a strategy condemned by the Argentine Physicians as “a total failure, except for the company supplying mosquitoes”.
The poor suffer most
Both the Brazilian and Argentine doctors’ and researchers’ associations agree that poverty is a key neglected factor in the Zika epidemic. Abrasco condemned the Brazilian government for its “deliberate concealment” of economic and social causes: “In Argentina and across America the poorest populations with the least access to sanitation and safe water suffer most from the outbreak.” The Argentine Physicians agreed, stating, “The basis of the progress of the disease lies in inequality and poverty.”
Abrasco added that the disease is closely linked to environmental degradation: floods caused by logging and the massive use of herbicides on (GM) herbicide-tolerant soy crops – in short, “the impacts of extractive industries”.
The notion that environmental degradation may a factor in the spread of Zika finds backing in the view of Dino Martins, PhD, a Kenyan entomologist. Martins said that “the explosion of mosquitoes in urban areas, which is driving the Zika crisis” is caused by “a lack of natural diversity that would otherwise keep mosquito populations under control, and the proliferation of waste and lack of disposal in some areas which provide artificial habitat for breeding mosquitoes”.
The Argentine Physicians believe that the best defence against Zika is “community-based actions”. An example of such actions is featured in a BBC News report on the Dengue virus in El Salvador. A favourite breeding place for disease-carrying mosquitoes is storage containers of standing water. El Salvadorians have started keeping fish in the water containers, and the fish eat the mosquito larvae. Dengue has vanished along with the mosquitoes that transmit the disease. And so far, the locals don’t have any Zika cases either.
Simple yet effective programmes like this are in danger of being neglected in Brazil in favour of the corporate-backed programmes of pesticide spraying and releasing GM mosquitoes. The latter is completely unproven and the former may be causing far more serious harm than the mosquitoes that are being targeted.
- Report from Physicians in the Crop-Sprayed Towns regarding Dengue-Zika, microcephaly, and mass-spraying with chemical poisons. 2016. Physicians in the Crop-Sprayed Towns.http://www.reduas.com.ar/wp-content/plugins/download-monitor/download.php?id=109
2. Nota técnica e carta aberta à população: Microcefalia e doenças vetoriais relacionadas ao Aedes aegypti: os perigos das abordagens com larvicidas e nebulização química – fumacê. January 2016. GT Salud y Ambiente. Asociación Brasileña de Salud Colectiva. ABRASCO.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/