Speak-a the Zika: Fear and loathing under the summertime sun

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A few people asked me yesterday: Did you hear about Florida? I was taken aback.. As I did not ‘hear about Florida.’ I thought.. did the state finally sink? Did a shock hurricane form out of no where and strike it?  Did it secede from the union?

None of the above.
Instead, the people told me as they almost trembled in fear, “There is an outbreak of Zika.”

Cue the frightening music.

I want to first begin by asking: Don’t we have plenty enough to be frightened of without being fearful of a disease that we can’t see? I get scared of fevers. And the flu.. Quite honestly, I am a terrible hypochondriac and so often that personality disorder leads to extreme disorder of my personal functions! But on this note, on this matter *(Zika)*, I am not finding myself to be the fearful nilly that so many others have become.

In just ten months, the Brazil outbreak of Zika has now spread to Florida.. And yesterday, all of this hubbub being referred to by individuals asking if you ‘heard about Florida,’ the dreadful confirmation came: Zika has now spread in the United States for the first time. In the Wynwood neighborhood to be exact.

Zika detected

But here is the best takeaway from this entire thing, as reported by Bloomberg in the body of text beneath it’s frightful and dire headline:

Because symptoms are typically mild, it’s possible that the disease has already spread through mosquitoes in other places or that the infection is more widely present and transmitting in Florida without health officials being able to confirm it. None of the four Florida patients exhibited symptoms.

“There may well be more cases that we’re not aware of right now because most people infected with Zika don’t have symptoms,” Frieden said Friday.

Most people don’t even know they have Zika. They will never know.. there aren’t symptoms..

But we fear.

# # #

A summer does not seem complete without a heat wave, a blockbuster film or two, and a stark warning about impending doom from government health officials that gets propagated by media conglomerates looking for a rise of fear and a rise in ratings. The convention coverage just must not be enough.. spread the Zika..

But speaka the Zika, there are also a few facts worth noting — besides the knowledge that the vast majority of people will never even get a symptom… The virus was isolated in 1947 in a monkey in the Zika Forest in Uganda. Researchers were studying the transmission of yellow fever, when they found the new virus in a rhesus monkey.. Its first appearance in humans was in 1952 in Uganda and Tanzania, and the first large outbreak of disease was in 2007 on Yap Island in Micronesia.

According to the CDC, only about 20 percent of infected people have any symptoms at all, and the few who become sick usually have a mild fever, sometimes diarrhea or a rash, headache or muscle pain.. I would dare say more people get these types of symptoms from regular fast food consumption than they do from Zika..

The real fear this year is about those not yet here: The babies.

According to the latest rash of news about Zika over the past 15 months, the mosquito disease is leading to an uptick in congenital microcephaly..  Microcephaly is a condition where a baby’s head is much smaller than expected. During pregnancy, a baby’s head grows because the baby’s brain grows. Microcephaly can occur because a baby’s brain has not developed properly during pregnancy or has stopped growing after birth, which results in a smaller head size. Microcephaly can be an isolated condition, meaning that it can occur with no other major birth defects, or it can occur in combination with other major birth defects…

The troubling aspect to this entire thing has always been the lack of a sharp and distinct conclusion that Zika itself has caused the Brazil microcephaly surge.. There is caution, of course.. The numbers are still a bit astounding, however. Since 2015 in Brazil, Zika seemingly spread rapidly and so did an increase in microcephaly.. The New England JOURNAL OF MEDICINE puts a very factual background on the Brazil outbreak for those who have some time to read it

My least favorite website (least favorite because it makes a paranoid hypo like me more parnaoid) is WebMD. They explain Zika as this:

Congenital microcephaly is passed down through families. It’s caused by defects in genes linked to early brain development. Microcephaly is often seen in children with Down syndrome and genetic disorders.

Acquired microcephaly means the child’s brain came into contact with something that harmed its growth and development. Some things that may do this while a baby is in the womb are:

Possibly Zika.

But let me ask this question.. if Zika has been around for decades.. if Zika has been in these same nations for as long as we know it has been.. why has congenital microcephaly just been known over the past 15 months to have been caused by it? And if so many MORE people could have been exposed and had Zika without knowing it —according to all health professionals — why aren’t MORE children being born with symptoms of microcephaly? Why is it still rare if Zika may not be?

On that note, I will leave this post with one a video.. if you have a spare 28 minutes, try it out.. One of my favorite YouTube channels if from Dr. John Bergman.. a few months ago he tackled Zika. And he put some needful common sense behind the fear..

2 Comments

  1. Amber the inquirer July 31, 2016 10:45 pm

    Very interesting post. Did not know there were 2 ways that microcephaly was transmitted. Unfortunately vector (mosquito) control is very difficult to achieve, big part of it being the climate.

  2. Michael J. Baker August 5, 2016 10:15 am

    First you are incorrect that the Zika virus doesn’t have symptoms: http://www.medicaldaily.com/zika-early-symptoms-2016-warning-signs-youre-infected-and-what-do-393831

    Second the fear comes mostly from the idea that the virus causes birth defects. If you are a pregnant woman living in Florida it is a VERY frightening situation. I don’t know what is worse, the over play of fear that is imposed by the media or the under play of concern pushed by people who feel that because it may not affect them, it’s not very important. I have two friends from Brazil who just had babies with birth defects due to this awful virus and believe me to them this is a nightmare.

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