Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Feeling Zika

Baby born in Hawaii has birth defect linked to Zika virus by Helen Branswell, January 16, 2016

My stomach is already upset because my printed piece byline was:

"Hawaii Baby With Brain Damage Is First U.S. Case Tied to Zika Virus" by DONALD G. McNEIL Jr. JAN. 16, 2016

The first case of brain damage linked to the Zika virus within the United States was reported on Friday in Hawaii.

The Hawaii State Department of Health said that a baby born in an Oahu hospital with microcephaly — an unusually small head and brain — had been infected with the Zika virus, which is believed to have caused the same damage in thousands of babies in Brazil in recent months. The presence of the virus was confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Okay, my first reaction was long ago I would have taken this at face value. 

My second was what larger agenda is at work here, and what measures were taken to support it that are now being covered up?

The child’s mother had lived in Brazil in May last year and probably was infected by a mosquito then, early in her pregnancy, the health department said. The virus presumably reached the embryo and damaged its developing brain.

Okay, this is certainly possible. Malaria has been a problem in the past, and we have been told mosquitoes carry other things like West Nile and EEE. 

What I'm wondering is if the mosquitoes have been weaponized as in the past. 

“We are saddened by the events that have affected this mother and her newborn,” Dr. Sarah Park, Hawaii’s state epidemiologist, said in a statement. “This case further emphasizes the importance of the C.D.C. travel recommendations released today.”

What would those be?

Also on Friday, the C.D.C. recommended that pregnant women consider postponing travel to any countries or regions with active Zika virus transmission.

As of Saturday, those included 17 Latin American and Caribbean countries and territories: Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Martin, Suriname, Venezuela and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The list of countries with transmission has been steadily growing; on Saturday, Barbados reported its first cases.

Now I don't want to be a poop, but this is at the same time we are being told a surge of Central American immigrant kids are coming.

Women considering becoming pregnant were advised to consult doctors before going to Zika-infested areas, and all travelers headed to such areas were urged to take vigorous measures to avoid mosquito bites.

There have been no confirmed cases of Zika virus transmission within Hawaii, Dr. Park said. Six Hawaii residents are known to have had the virus since 2014, but all picked it up through travel elsewhere. Nevertheless, Hawaii is undergoing an outbreak of dengue fever, and the same mosquitoes that transmit it also can transmit Zika.

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A C.D.C. epidemiologist recently predicted that Zika would follow the same pattern that dengue has, with local transmission during hot weather in tropical parts of the country, including Florida, the Gulf Coast and Hawaii.

In Washington, administration officials said the decision to issue a travel alert developed quickly at the end of the week and triggered a flurry of diplomatic contacts with the countries named in the alert, given the potential economic and tourism impact that the decision could have. Officials said that notification effort delayed the C.D.C. announcement for several hours on Friday.

Scientists do not yet know how the Zika virus damages fetal brains. It is related to the dengue, yellow fever and West Nile viruses, which normally do not cause such damage.

So what government-introduced illness was added or spliced in?

The virus was first discovered in monkeys in the Zika Forest in Uganda in 1947.

They still running out the animals infected man, huh?

I'm no scientist, but I'm no longer buying it. When the propaganda pre$$ exposes Fort Derrick maybe I'll start scratching.

It is widespread in Africa and Southeast Asia but had never been seen as a major threat because the disease it causes is usually mild. About 80 percent of people who get the virus show no symptoms; those who do usually get a fever, rash and red eyes, but they rarely require hospitalization.


In 2007, the Asian strain of the virus was detected moving across the South Pacific; it caused a large outbreak on Yap Island that year. By late 2014, it had reached Easter Island, off the coast of Chile. In Brazil, the virus first appeared in the country in May.

Hawaii is conducting a “Fight the Bite” campaign intended to stop its dengue outbreak. Residents have been urged to get rid of all standing water on their properties, to apply mosquito repellents and to try to avoid being bitten.

The Zika and dengue viruses — like virtually all mosquito-borne diseases — do not occur in mosquito larvae. Adult female mosquitoes pick them up by biting one infected human, and then, some days later, after the virus has traveled from their gut to their salivary glands, they infect another human. Dr. Park said neither the mother nor the baby in Hawaii is still infectious.


Before leaving Hawaii:

"Rescuers continued to search choppy waters where debris was sighted after two Marine Corps helicopters carrying six crew members each crashed off the Hawaiian island of Oahu during a nighttime training mission, military officials said. There was no immediate word Friday on the fate of those aboard or what caused the accident."


Search continues for Hingham man, 11 others missing off Hawaii

Hingham mourns as search for missing Marines is suspended

That certainly brings it home.

"Pregnant travelers urged to stay away from countries with Zika" by Felice J. Freyer Globe Staff  January 22, 2016

An obscure virus called Zika — never before known to cause serious illness and with no medication to treat it and no vaccine to prevent it — has sparked fears and disrupted lives the world over.

 And I'm just reading about it now?

Concerns about the virus appear likely to affect travel plans for Latin American and Caribbean immigrants living in Massachusetts and for pregnant women across the United States planning winter getaways.

In Brazil, where the virus arrived last spring, nearly 4,000 children with microcephaly have been born since October 2015, compared with 147 in 2014.


Studies don’t prove Zika causes microcephaly but provide strong circumstantial evidence.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is advising pregnant women to consider avoiding travel to Brazil and 13 other countries and territories in Latin America and the Caribbean: Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela, and Puerto Rico. On Friday, the CDC added these locations to the travel advisory list: Barbados, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guadeloupe, Saint Martin, Guyana, Cape Verde, and Samoa.

But let the immigrants come!

“It’s another situation where the way we live, how we travel . . . has brought us another virus,” said Dr. Alfred DeMaria, Massachusetts state epidemiologist.

Dr. Pieter Cohen, a Somerville internist with thousands of Brazilian patients, said so far none has come to him with concerns, but he expects soon to have questions to answer and dilemmas to resolve.

For many pregnant women, he said, staying in the United States might not be an option. “So much of their lives and families are in Brazil,” and often they have sick relatives or other family obligations, Cohen said.

Those who must go abroad will need to “take aggressive action to avoid mosquito bites,” he said.

Federal health authorities are advising medical professionals to ask all pregnant women where they have traveled recently. Those who have visited an area where Zika is prevalent and who have two or more symptoms of Zika infection should be tested. DeMaria said the state laboratory cannot perform the test but will probably gain the capacity soon; for now, samples would have to go to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.

The guidelines recommend that pregnant women testing positive for Zika undergo regular ultrasounds to monitor their babies’ growth. 

I'm not a woman, but this has to be absolutely frightening to any pregnant woman.

“It’s interesting that the CDC took this aggressive stance as it will assuredly lead to a lot of testing and many false-positives, that is, patients whose blood test is positive but have a completely normal pregnancy,” Cohen wrote in an e-mail. All this testing, he wrote, will lead to much anxiety, but “this is an emerging threat that we understand poorly.”


"Firearms and motor vehicles are among the leading nonmedical causes of mortality in the United States, but medical ailments, like cancer and heart attacks, kill considerably more people each year than either guns or automobiles according to the CDC."

That's why they are focusing on e-cigarettes and kids while losing the war on AIDS

I no longer trust the CDC anyway.

Officials at Cambridge Health Alliance, where Cohen works; Boston Medical Center; and MetroWest Medical Center in Framingham — all of which treat a sizable proportion of Latin American immigrants — said they have not seen patients with symptoms of Zika or received many questions from patients. But all have circulated federal health guidance to their staff.

It's not their fault they are here, and it comes with being a sanctuary state.

Because the virus has only recently received widespread attention, Brazilian community leaders in Massachusetts have not detected broad concerns. “The information is still being disseminated to the community here,” said Dr. C. Eduardo Siqueira, a professor at the College of Public and Community Service at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

But to physicians such as himself, Siqueira said, it was a shock to learn the virus has apparently damaged fetuses. “Nobody saw it coming,” he said.

Here is another shock

The whole world is upside-down, inside-out, and backwards. It's surreal.

Dr. Katherine Economy, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, said microcephaly is rare and has multiple causes, including genetic abnormalities and infections.

Zika cases have already shown up in the United States, including in Hawaii, Illinois, and Florida, all among people who were bitten by mosquitoes overseas.

Oh, good. Means American mosquitoes aren't carrying the thing. 

Originally from Africa, Zika thrives on human activity. The mosquitoes that carry it evolved to live in the small puddles that people tend to leave around their houses, in buckets and rain gutters. They bite aggressively during the day.

If the virus establishes itself in the United States, it will be because of the interplay between insect and human. If a person sick with Zika comes to the United States and a mosquito bites within the first week of illness, that mosquito could transfer the virus to someone else. The virus can also be transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy, and some evidence exists that Zika might be sexually transmitted.


This is taking on the characteristics of a lab-born disease!

It’s usually the Aedes aegypti mosquito, prevalent in the Southeastern United States, that spreads Zika.

A second mosquito that carries it, although less commonly, is Aedes albopictus. This breed tolerates cooler temperatures and has been found in Massachusetts, said Richard Pollack, a public health entomologist and chairman of the Massachusetts Mosquito Advisory Group.


The Aedes albopictus mosquitoes arrived in tire casings brought into the state for processing; their eggs survive the winter. The usual methods of controlling mosquitoes — poisoning their larvae and spraying pesticides at night — are less effective on this breed, Pollack said. There is no suggestion those bugs are spreading Zika in the state.

So we are going to be showered with pesticides this spring and summer, along with the coal ash and all the other contaminants the government is dumping on us.

“Even if there’s no virus being transmitted, because they are aggressive human biters, people will come quickly to hate them,” Pollack said. “Be happy it’s January.”


Thankfully, the WHO is now on the case.


Of course, they would never do anything like that.... right?

You know what this reminds me of?

"Beating back Ebola is among the few tangible achievements that senior U.N. officials cite as an example of global cooperation, athough the WHO has been widely criticized for failing to act quickly enough. On Wednesday, an independent commission of 17 experts in public health, research and finance called for greater international investment in preventing future epidemics. “Relative to its significance to global humanity, there is no issue that gets less attention,” Lawrence H. Summers, a professor and former president at Harvard University, said at an event in New York marking the release of a report on the matter."

Hey, look, it's union leader Larry Summers posing as a global health advocate even though “it’s a new normal,” this thing that killed and sickened tens of thousands of people in West Africa.

Of course, this is the same guy who said Africa should be used as a toxic waste dump.

Ebola case is reported in West Africa

I didn't believe the epidemic was over as the U.N. claimed.

Child asthma rates quiet down after earlier increase

Whatever (cough).

Whatever happened with the chikungunya outbreak anyway?

What else is going on in Brazil (according to the Globe):

"TelexFree promoter jailed for contempt in Florida" by Beth Healy Globe Staff  January 21, 2016

One of the top promoters in TelexFree Inc.’s alleged $3 billion pyramid scheme is being held in a Florida jail on a contempt charge, after failing to return assets including cars and cash that securities regulators had frozen.

Sanderley Rodrigues de Vasconcelos, known more widely as Sann Rodrigues, was arrested in May on visa fraud charges and has been home under electronic surveillance awaiting trial. He had been given a deadline of Jan. 15 to return $233,473 transferred out of his bank accounts, as well as proceeds from the sale of a Ferrari, a Mercedes, and three Florida condominiums.

A lawyer for Rodrigues could not be reached. He fired a Massachusetts lawyer last summer who used to represent him.

TelexFree, formerly based in Marlborough and Brazil, filed for federal bankruptcy protection in the United States in 2014. Prosecutors and bankruptcy officials allege that it is the largest pyramid scheme in history, in terms of the number of victims.

At least 1 million people around the world invested with the company, which purported to sell cheap long distance phone plans but allegedly made most of its money recruiting members to invest. Money from later participants was used to pay off earlier ones, according to prosecutors.

TelexFree’s top executives are facing criminal charges and prison time if found guilty....


Just kind of winging it right now, so WhatsApp, Brazil?

"The WhatsApp messaging service will drop its annual 99-cent subscription fee. Instead, it will test ways to monetize its nearly 1 billion customers by allowing businesses to communicate with WhatsApp users as an alternative to ads. WhatsApp will remove the fees from different versions of its app over the coming weeks because many users who don’t have a debit or credit card are concerned about losing access to their contacts after a free trial period, the company said Monday. “We will test tools that allow you to use WhatsApp to communicate with businesses and organizations that you want to hear from,” WhatsApp said. “That could mean communicating with your bank about whether a recent transaction was fraudulent, or with an airline about a delayed flight.” Facebook Inc. bought WhatsApp for $22 billion in 2014." 

I got the me$$age. Time to get some sleep. Maybe I'll feel better tomorrow.

Good night and pleasant dreams, readers. Don't let the mosquitos bite.