Saturday, July 9, 2016

Why We Must Demand the CDC and Health Canada Enact Level 3 (Avoid Nonessential Travel)

Coming Soon . .

 Zika Documentary: The Whole Truth


CDC's Test Misses 40 Percent of Zika Infections, Sexually Transmitted Cases Not Reported, CDC Dismissed the Zika–Culex link, Virus May Lie Dormant and Reactivate Years Later, Antibodies to Dengue Magnifies Zika Virus Infection and more . . .


New America on flickr (CC-by-2.0) Zika, the Olympics, and Global Health Security Dr. Tom Frieden, CDC's Director
Photo: New America on flickr (CC-by-2.0) | Text by RoseWrites Sept. 28, 2016

BREAKING NEWS from The Washington Post reporter Lena H. Sun (September 27th, 2016):

Dr. Robert Lanciotti was demoted after he raised concerns about a new Zika test (he was chief of the CDC lab responsible for developing tests that detect diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas).

Apparently, "the test is substantially less effective than another established test" and misses almost 40 percent of Zika virus infections. He also said the CDC withheld information about testing differences from state and local public health labs.

The 2-page document out of Washington for immediate release is: OSC Calls for Further Review of Whistleblower Disclosures on Zika Testing.

CDC mostly green map omits sexual transmission of Zika in the U.S. [Fair Use]
CDC's mostly green map omits sexual transmission of Zika. [Fair Use] Click to enlarge.
Dear CDC, If you fail to provide a separate category for both possibilities, then you are hiding crucial data.  Because those quoting your map can simply state: 'There have been no sexually transmitted cases recorded" which is a dangerous falsehood. I see you chose green (a colour associated with "safe" or "good to go"). Subtle but noticeable!
Lumping sexual transmission in with mosquito-borne transmission completely downplays the possibility (or rather, probability) that men are transmitting this virus at alarming rates. 

Sexual Transmission is Dangerously Downplayed


FACT: Even after removing pregnant women from the data, researchers found women were 90 percent more likely than men their age to be infected. After age 15, once sexual activity began, the rates in females shot up. Between the ages of 25 and 29, women were three times as likely (as men) to be infected with Zika.

FACT: As of June 30th, 2016 there were 1,674 confirmed cases of microcephaly associated with Zika infection in five countries. A study published July 25th, 2016 suggests that 1.65 (1.45 to 2.06) million childbearing women and 93.4 (81.6 to 117.1) million people in total could become infected before the first wave of the epidemic concludes.

In a related post, experts not involved in the study said the new estimate may be conservative. Derek Gatherer of Lancaster University noted recent research which revealed that as many as 29 percent of babies of Zika-infected mothers develop problems.

If so, "over half a million" children may ultimately be affected, he added.


Addendum August 4th, 2016: For over a year, the government has been censoring its official medical statistics. A leaked government document examined by Dr. Julio Castro revealed Venezuela's excessive and undiagnosed febrile cases ... roughly 8,000 Zika infections a week.

In Rio, suspected new outbreaks are down to "a few hundred a week" – a few hundred a week! The outbreak is clearly not over.

An August 3rd, 2016 post in The Atlantic confirms a similar problem. "Researchers found the undercounting occurred in at least nine states: Florida, California, Texas, Georgia, Illinois, North Carolina, Ohio, Indiana, and Oregon. Northeastern's computer model does not take sexual transmission of Zika into consideration, even though it's one of the ways the virus is transmitted."

Addendum July 15th, 2016: The first case of female-to-male sexual transmission of the Zika virus has occurred in New York City. "The timing and sequence of events support female-to-male Zika virus transmission through condomless vaginal intercourse," said the CDC.

Dr. Mary T. Bassett, New York's health commissioner stressed there were additional factors that might have raised the risk of infection from female-to-male in this case:

1) The male was uncircumcised.
2) The woman was in the early stages of Zika infection when her viral load was high.
3) The woman was also beginning her menstrual cycle and it was "heavier than usual".

Therefore, it is unclear if the Zika virus was transmitted to the man by the woman's menstrual blood or by vaginal fluids.

Finally, an August 1st, 2016 post by Maryn McKenna in National Geographic confirmed: It's official: Zika is a sexually transmitted infection. William Smith, Executive Director of the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD) in Washington, stated:
"We have been a little bit frustrated by the lack of focus on Zika as an STD when there has been credible evidence that sexual transmission could be as important a focus for us in preventing Zika as mosquito-borne transmission."
He pointed out that CDC-sponsored signs at airports mention avoiding mosquito bites and wearing mosquito repellent – but they don't show condoms.

Are Olympic Athletes Being Lied To?


Addendum July 21st, 2016: In a post published July 20th, I found out that some members of Zimbabwe's soccer team "threatened to quit over lack of information about the Zika virus". When I viewed this PDF compiled by Dr. Austin Jeans, head of the Zimbabwe medical team to the Rio Olympics, my jaw dropped. I sent an email to: INFO@zoc.co.zw to let them know.

Here's a screenshot (click to enlarge):

Information provided to Zimbabwe Olympic Athletes by Dr. Austin Jeans

More Deception and How Zika is Downplayed


May 12th, 2016 we were told the risk of getting Zika was "only one in 500,000". Tourists have a near-zero chance of getting Zika at the Rio Olympics. 

Brazil's health minister, Ricardo Barros (a civil engineer with no medical background) stated: "The statistical forecast is that out of the 500,000 foreigners coming to the games in Rio, less than one tourist will be infected." 

Ricardo Barros faces an investigation for charges like corruption, embezzlement and crimes against the Tender Act, according to a May 16, 2016 post.

And I found it amusing when Sidney Levy, CEO 2016 Rio Committee, told the BBC (June 27th, 2016): "In the winter months, there is [sic] no mosquitoes whatsoever."

Yet, the fifth photo in this July 26th, 2016 post shows them fogging the Olympic village. The caption says: "They claimed that the Olympic village needed mosquito treatment, visible by the fumes, every single day."

Addendum August 9th, 2016: USA Today confirms the presence of mosquitoes at the Olympics. Here are some quotes from that report:

"On Saturday, the influx of mosquitoes was extraordinary ... athletes were swatting mosquitoes away from their faces as they stood atop the podium."

"... it transpired again on Monday as the mosquitoes came from nowhere just as the afternoon session was getting close to completion."

"When it gets dark they start to come. If you get bitten it is annoying, " said Ane Marcelle Gomes dos Santos, a Brazilian archer, to USA Today Sports.

An August 26th, 2016 NPR post photo clearly shows about 43 mosquitoes hovering around one athlete, South Korea's bronze medalist Ki Bo Bae, during the medal ceremony for archery (held on Aug. 11th) at the Rio Olympic Games.

Less Than One Zika Infection Suddenly Jumped to 80?


July 31st, 2016 we are told "only about 80 would catch Zika ... Once the Games are over, only four countries (Chad, Djibouti, Eritrea, and Yemen) face a higher-than-normal risk of Zika spreading to their countries because of the Olympics, the CDC said."
The CDC, WHO, and Health Canada are giving the unspoken impression that about 80 people contracting Zika and those four lesser-known countries aren't worthy of being protected from a Zika outbreak. Obviously, the Olympics are far too important for shareholders and investors!
FACT: As Dr. Attaran pointed out, "... although the estimated 500,000 Olympic visitors seem an inconsequential drop in the bucket of global travel, consequence has come from much less. Brazil's outbreak is hypothesized to have started with just one infected carrier ..."

Also, he noted that Rio de Janeiro state has 29 percent of probable Zika cases, more than anywhere else in Brazil (even though some sources are stating "92 percent of Zika cases are far away from Rio").

If just one person began Brazil's Zika outbreak, then it stands to reason that 80 infected people = an 8,000 percent increased risk of causing an outbreak of Zika (like Brazil's).  See how I did that there?

SARS was carried from China to Toronto, Singapore, and Hanoi when a 64-year-old medical doctor (staying on the ninth floor of Hong Kong's Metropole Hotel) transmitted the virus to at least 16 other hotel guests staying on the same floor. Some guests carried the disease abroad.

A global outbreak of SARS was thus seeded from a single person on a single day on a single floor of a Hong Kong hotel.

Weather in Rio


FACT: It will not be "winter in Rio = no mosquitoes" as you've been led to believe. The "temperatures will likely run in the middle 80s to near 90 F (29 to 32 C) throughout the Olympic Games."

FACT: Water temperatures that are ideal for breeding Aedes mosquitoes is 80 F (27 C) give or take a few degrees. Since water is generally a few degrees cooler than air, Rio will have the perfect conditions for breeding the main type of Zika-carrying mosquito.

FACT: Mosquito larvae and pupae are reared at 23 C (73.4 F), 27 C (80.6 F), and 31 C(87.8 F) give or take a degree. And 23 C (73.4 F) is the coldest day predicted for the month of August in Rio de Janeiro.

Addendum August 8th, 2016: A post by Ken Fang states: "... mosquitoes are still flying around even though this is the winter season in the southern hemisphere." Further along he wrote: "Not many, probably two or three, but I'm aware of it ... Pierre McGuire ... he noticed them right above my head  ...

The same day, David Ramsey wrote: "But the mosquitoes returned, and those same several thousand Olympic visitors are worried. Trust me on that one. After a week of no mosqitoes, I saw a buzzing flash in my hotel room. I had expect to see large and sinister super mosquitoes in Brazil, but this mosquito was surprisingly tiny ... Three more tiny mosquitoes soon were buzzing around the room."


But there's been no Zika cases linked to the Olympics . . .


According to the CDC: "Testing for Zika virus can be performed within the first week of the onset of symptoms which include fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes."

On August 25th, 2016 WHO admitted ". .. cases may still occur given that the Olympics ended on Aug 21 and most people are still in their 1-week incubation period."

When diagnosed via a urine test known as rRT-PCR (real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction), "the results can take weeks, perhaps even months ...Reporting times may be longer during summer months or when arbovirus activity increases ... wait times for testing will likely be more than the minimum three weeks."
"We don't know who is spreading Zika via sex that they acquired at the Olympics. We will  need to monitor for impact for many, many months – not who got bitten over two weeks!" ~ Dr. Arthur Caplan, a bioethicist at New York University
September 14th, 2016: A post in TheJournal.ie stated: "It's unclear as yet if the cases are a result of UK athletes travelling to Brazil for the Olympic Games ... The agency told the BBC that its policy is not to give the exact number of diagnosed cases if it is fewer than five, as it may identify those affected."

And The Irish Times post stated: "When asked if a person has been treated recently and if it was linked to travelling to the Olympic Games in Brazil, the spokeswoman said she could not provide a response as the organisation "does not talk about individual cases".

Bottom line: If similar "policies" are in place in other regions of the world, I doubt we will get an accurate picture of the Zika cases that were acquired because the Olympic Games were held in Rio.

Addendum October 8th, 2016: In Hawaii, two doctors and the Hawaii Department of Health denied medical attention to a gentleman on the basis that he has not travelled. He documented the exchange:


Here is a transcript of what was said (starting at the 15-second mark):

Hawaii Dept. of Health Official (HO): "You're not listening to what I am saying. To get Zika virus, you either have to travel ... yeah, because we don't have Zika here."
Mr. Chris Casey (CC) informs this person that he doesn't have to travel to get Zika.
HO: "If you go to a doctor and ask for a Zika test, they gonna ask you 'did you travel?' ... if you tell them 'no' then they gonna tell you 'sorry, we cannot test you [for Zika virus].'
CC: "Does that make any sense?"
HO: "Well, because we don't have Zika here."
CC: "No, you DO [have Zika], you  just don't want to admit it."
HO: "We don't have it (repeated)." 
CC: "That's why I'm not getting a [Zika] test right now. Because they don't want to admit that they have Zika here. Hawaii has Zika and y'all don't want to tell anybody! You're getting sued, the hospital is getting sued, I've been denied medical attention by multiple agencies."

Lost Pregnancies Related to Zika Not Tallied


FACT: The CDC isn't tallying the number of infants that have died from Zika. In this CBC post, the subheading clearly states: "U.S. has had 5 babies born with Zika-related birth defects and 5 Zika-related lost pregnancies".

And yet, the CDC are just reporting "the first death related to the Zika virus in the U.S." Five dead babies don't count?

FACT: A post dated February 26th, 2016 confirmed what I've read numerous times since: "Of the nine pregnant women in the U.S. with confirmed Zika virus cases, only three of the pregnancies have ended in live births, the CDC said today." [I don't think those six dead babies were counted.]

If Lost Pregnancies are Not Counted; Sexual Transmission is Being Downplayed


FACT: The CDC is not recording (or relaying to the public) the alarming rate of sexual spread of Zika. In this post, Tom Frieden, CDC's director, said, "... more than 1,100 Americans had become infected with the virus while traveling abroad. That includes 14 sexually transmitted cases and 320 pregnant women."

Yet, in the first 14 seconds of this news item, it states: "Texas now has 53 confirmed cases of Zika but none of them yet from mosquitoes." And this in only Texas, not the entire U.S.

FACT: The CDC has known (since February) about the sexual spread of Zika but has chosen to conceal crucial data.

In this Courthouse News Service post, it states: "The agency would not say where the new sexually transmitted Zika cases were discovered since the risk applies to all women in the U.S., Dr. Jennifer McQuiston, deputy incident manager for Zika virus at the CDC, told CNN."

Quotes from the February 23rd, 2016 CNN post:
"These new reports suggest sexual transmission may be a more likely means of transmission for Zika than previously considered ... several of these cases are among pregnant women, although the CDC did not specify how many." 
"Officials have not said which states they are working with or where these women live because the risk applies to all women in the United States, according to Dr. Jennifer McQuiston, deputy incident manager fro Zika virus at the CDC."
"We have been a little surprised by the number of suspected cases we've received, " she told CNN.
To Dr. Jennifer McQuiston I say:

"I'm a little surprised that we know the first woman to have transmitted Zika to a man lives in New York – but you and the CDC are concealing the whereabouts of men who are infecting women? Your duty is to protect public health (which includes men, women, and children)."

Addendum August 26th, 2016: A CIDRAP post titled Study hints at greater Zika sexual transmission threat to fetuses states the following:
  • New findings hint that the spread to fetuses through the genital route might be more direct.
  • Surprisingly, vaginal virus replication and persistence, along with virus spread to fetal brains, was seen even in the wild-type mice.
  • Researchers saw significant replication in vagina tissue that persisted up to 4 to 5 days, longer than other sites of infection. In pregnant mice, they detected Zika virus in the brains of fetuses along with weight loss.
The study, Vaginal Exposure to Zika Virus during Pregnancy Leads to Fetal Brain Infection, in Cell states:
Therefore, humans are naturally more susceptible to ZIKV infection than mice because infected cells can no longer respond to IFNs [interferons]. Consequently, we speculate that ZIKV introduced into the human vagina is likely to replicate more robustly than in the vaginal cavity of wild-type mice.
Note: Interferons are a group of signaling proteins made and released by host cells in response to the presence of several pathogens (such as viruses, bacteria, parasites, and tumor cells).

U.S. Media Can Legally Distort or Falsify the News


FACT: The U.S. media can legally lie to you. A Florida Court of Appeals unanimously agreed that there is no rule against distorting or falsifying the news in the U.S.

So when NBC's Olympics president, Gary Zenkel, stated, "... you could contract Zika and it's a few bad days" he is in the clear (legally) to withhold the truth.

Zika Causes Both Microcephaly and GBS


FACT: Harvard's John Ross, MD, FIDSA said, "The Zika outbreak in French Polynesia was associated with a 20-fold increased risk of Guillain-BarrĂ© syndrome (GBS) ... Two-thirds of patients lose the ability to walk and 25 percent need a mechanical ventilator to breathe (because of weak respiratory muscles) ... 20 percent are still unable to walk at six months after diagnosis."

FACT: Even in the best of settings, three to five percent of GBS patients die from complications, which can include paralysis of the muscles that control breathing, blood infection, lung clots or cardiac arrest. People of all ages can be affected, however it is more common in adults and in males.

FACT: Even the WHO now admits: "Based on research to date, there is scientific consensus that Zika virus is a cause of microcephaly and GBS."

August 2016: Stanford neurologist Carl A. Gold, MD, MS, and S. Andrew Josephson, MD, wrote in JAMA Neurology, "Numerous factors will influence the number of cases of GBS in the United States. However, if conditions were to mimic the French Polynesian outbreak, then as many as 30,000 cases of Zika-associated GBS might be expected."

Zika affects adult brains (especially learning and memory). In the journal Cell Stem Cell, scientists found the Zika virus drastically changes specific neural cells once thought to be resistant to the virus.

In a press release, co-author Sujan Shresta said, "Zika can clearly enter the brain of adults and can wreak havoc ... the majority of adults who are infected rarely show detectable symptoms. Its effect on the adult brain may be more subtle, and now we know what to look for."

Zika has also been linked to GBS, paralysis, uveitis, blindness, hearing problems, Alzheimer's disease, acute disseminated encephalomyelitits (ADEM) and probably more.

Zika Could Lay Dormant & Resurface Later or Cause Blindness


I mentioned this concern I had about Zika on June 14th, 2016:

"It appears to get past the blood-brain barrier, so we have no idea (down the road; even decades later) if it can become reactivated (like polio is with post-polio syndrome or shingles is with chicken pox)."

Now, it appears to be coming true. A month later, in this July 14th, 2016 ScienceDaily post it states:

"... the [Zika] virus can still be detected in many GBS patients even months after their recovery ... akin to a similar phenomenon such as Herpes Zoster, where the virus lies more or less dormant in the body for many years and then becomes active again under certain circumstances such as stress or a weakening of the immune system and unleashes serious symptoms. Further research will have to examine what significance this fact has for another breakout of the Zika infection or the passing on of Zika viruses to other persons."

FACT: Zika-induced uveitis (a serious and painful eye condition) can cause glaucoma, cataracts, and loss of vision. "It is the No. 3 cause of preventable blindness in civilized societies," said Dr. C. Stephen Foster, president of the Massachusetts Eye Research and Surgery Institution.

September 6th, 2016: An Independent post by Ian Johnston stated:
"Zika virus genes have been discovered in tears in a finding that may explain why some people with the disease go blind ... The researchers suggested that the eyes could be a reservoir of the virus, possibly helping it spread from one person to another."

The ScienceDaily report explained: "The eye is an immune privilege site, meaning the immune system is less active there, to avoid accidentally damaging sensitive tissues responsible for vision in the process of fighting infection. Consequently, infections sometimes persist in the eye after they have been cleared from the rest of the body."

Update September 15th, 2016: JAMA Ophthalmology published Presence of Zika Virus in Conjunctival Fluid which states: "Although isolation of ZIKV in cell culture from urine, semen, saliva, and breast milk has been described, to our knowledge, detection and isolation of ZIKV from conjunctiva has not been reported so far."

Yet, over a month prior to this study, Ted Pestorius from the CDC thought tears might have been the reason behind the mysterious Utah case? On August 12th, 2016, he said, "It appears that the son may have caught the virus as he wiped his father's tears."

Brazilian Strain of Zika Has Dangerously Mutated


FACT: The Brazilian strain is clearly the worst yet. A Harvard T.H. Chan post states: "The outbreak in Brazil seems to be from the Asian strain, which may have evolved to be better at invading nerve cells or at evading the immune system ... what is worrying is that we don't know what may have changed, and why."

April 15th, 2016: A Time article called Zika Mutates Extremely Quickly, Which Is Why It's So Scary confirmed that when researchers from UCLA and China compared 40 strains of Zika, they discovered a variety of differences between them.

Notably, the strains they collected from humans (in this outbreak) did not match the strains seen in mosquitoes. Study author Stephanie Valderramos added, "It could be we haven't been looking hard enough. If we can't find them, it brings into question whether the mosquito is the primary mode of transmission in the current epidemic."

The researchers suggest that other modes of transmission, like sex, may play a bigger role.

June 23rd, 2016: A post by Erica Bajer in The Brock News included the comments of Dr. Fiona Hunter, medical entomologist and researcher. It stated: "Hunter says Zika has been around since 1947 in Africa, but over time has clearly mutated and become a greater risk to human health."

July 11th, 2016: Replikins Ltd. announced that recent rapid significant Zika virus gene mutations have been detected ... predicts Zika intensification and spread of outbreaks in the coming year.

September 8th, 2016: A Reuters post confirmed that a DNA analysis of Zika in Singapore "revealed slight differences between the strains ... Raymond Lin, head of the National Public Health Lab, said the strain in Singapore and Brazil were slightly different, but it was not clear what this meant."

September 10th, 2016: A Firstpost article quoted Dr. Peter Hotez who stated: "Zika appears to have undergone a significant number of mutations, possibly in its NS1 gene, to make it more neurotropic (affecting the nervous system) and better adapted to grow in humans and mosquitoes. It has become a pandemic strain."

The NS1 gene helps the Zika virus replicate and evade a response from the human immune system.

Earlier this year, 238 health experts from 40 countries countered the excuse "Zika is already circulating in 60 countries" with:
"It is not true that 60 countries have the new, more dangerous strain of virus that is causing microcephaly and brain damage in children in Brazil." 
They added:
"While routine travel out of Brazil already has exported that viral strain somewhat, the Olympics are different because they summon travellers from literally every country in the world and can spread infection with unsurpassable efficiency. Not even other mass gatherings like the World Cup have the global reach of the Olympics."

CDC and Health Canada Fail to Enact Level 3 Travel Alerts 


FACT: Dr. Michael Burgess (Congressman and Ob/Gyn for 25 years) and Mr. John Cornyn (U.S. Senator) penned a 3-page letter to both Dr. Tom Frieden, CDC's director, and John F. Kerry, Secretary of State, asking that they provide detailed responses to six glaring issues. Here are just three:

1) Explain why Zika-related travel risks is not on the 'Alerts and Warnings' page.
2) Explain why the CDC does not consider Zika an unprecedented threat to public health to warrant a Level 3 travel alert (avoid all non-essential travel).
3) Provide a detailed analysis why the CDC does not consider this virus as presenting a high risk of harm to the next generation of Americans.

Proof the Gov't Knows Containment (Travel Restrictions) Work


A June 10th, 2016 PLOS research article FLIRT-ing with Zika: A Web Application to Predict the Movement of Infected Travelers Validated Against the Current Zika Virus Epidemic starts out by stating:

"Developing accurate tools to anticipate Zika spread is one of the first steps to mitigate further spread of the disease ... air traffic data and network simulations can predict where infectious disease may spread and aid in the prevention of infectious diseases."

Sounds virtuous enough, right? This next sentence in the study proved to me that travel restrictions would help stop the spread of Zika.

"This study assumed that the rate of imported Zika cases over time in U.S. locations would be proportional to the number of flights from Zika-affected areas."

But then further along, this sentence disturbed me: "Despite these areas being at the most risk of receiving travelers infected with Zika Virus [sic], the environmental conditions at these locations may not be conducive to sustained local transmission."

Yikes! In my mind, that sounded a bit like "sustained local transmission" was the desired outcome. I later discovered that four of the five study authors are from EcoHealth Alliance. The CDC is listed as one of their Governmental Partners.

On August 22nd, 2016, I read the following quote in The New Yorker post titled The Race For A Zika Vaccine:

"That's what happened with Ebola. Containment halted the spread of the infection – a great thing – but it made it difficult to test the vaccine." ~ Dr. Anthony Fauci, NIAID Director

Published September 2nd, 2016, was the following interview with Derek Gatherer, a lecturer at Lancaster University who specializes in virology.


Notably, at the 2:53 mark, he stated: 
"The number of places in the world that are potentially going to get the [Zika] virus back from Brazil depends on the air travel between Brazil and those parts of the world."
Peppered throughout the interview, Gatherer also stated: 
  • "As it [Zika] travels back from Brazil via international air travel and so on"
  • "direct air travel"
  • "hubs of high air travel"
  • "high levels of traffic from Latin America"

He never answered the last question: "Is there more that could be done to stop the spread of this now? Could the World Health Organization (WHO) be taking more action at this phase?

If you watch the video a second time, it becomes clear that the agenda is to push a vaccine which will be too little, too late. 

Right now, travel restrictions would allow this wave of the Zika infection to burn itself out rather than have 1/3 of the world's population (2.6 billion people) be put at risk.

What's more, the "CDC says that the chance of Zika-carrying mosquitoes getting on board commercial flights is slight and it does not recommend any prophylactic spraying of cabins."

Gee, it's almost as though the CDC and WHO want Zika to spread globally. And it seems that pushing a vaccine (that won't be ready in time for this wave of infections) is the false hope they are peddling.

Prior to the Olympics, I heard: "But the flu kills more people than Zika!"


While the flu definitely kills more people worldwide, it's important to note:

a) You can recover fully from the flu. In fact, most people make a full recovery and won't experience any further problems. With Zika, we don't know that is possible. The most worrisome finding to date:

The Zika virus can still be detected in many GBS patients even months after recovery and behaves similar to Herpes Zoster (where the virus lies dormant for years and then becomes active again and unleashes serious symptoms).

b) Several groups of people who are at increased risk for flu complications: pregnant women, young children (under 5 and especially under 2 years of age), people 65 and older, and those with certain diseases such as: chronic lung disease, asthma, heart disease, diabetes, immunosuppressing conditions (like HIV or transplantation) and other diseases.
My point: To begin life with microcephaly (which could have been prevented if authorities enacted level 3 travel restrictions) is a guaranteed lifetime of severe developmental problems. Sadly, many of these babies die. Plus, it costs between $1 million and $10 million to care for a child with microcephaly.
Problems with Zika (even for adults) include permanent blindness, paralysis, inability to breathe without a ventilator, memory and learning problems, hearing problems, Alzheimer's disease, acute disseminated encephalomyelitits (ADEM), and death. There could be more issues that have yet to be discovered.

While flu is definitely worthy of note (and can be fatal), catching it does not leave most otherwise healthy people with so many uncertainties. Plus, we do have flu vaccines. [They are formulated according to the strain(s) circulating each year and their effectiveness can vary.]

Another Mosquito Species is Probably a Vector


FACT: It is a lie that only Aedes mosquitoes carry Zika. According to researchers in this report (scroll to 2:10 mark), the most alarming finding was revealed:
"There is probably another species involved in Zika transmission, call it Culex." ~ Constancia Ayres, research coordinator of the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation
Ayres agreed with the reporter's conclusion: "So the government has only part of the picture, you found it in another one. And it's more dangerous because it breeds anywhere."

After checking over 1500 mosquitoes, nearly half were Aedes aegypti and most of the rest were Culex quinquefasciatus, a common mosquito. About 5 percent of the collected mosquitoes were other species.

Plus, the "Culex species are typical night-biters that breed in open pools of water. The Aedes species that spread not only Zika but yellow fever, dengue and chikungunya, are different. They breed in and around homes and bite during the day."

FACT: The study Identification of Zika virus vectors and implications for control published March 2016 states:

"Vector control strategies must be directed at all potential vectors. To assume that the main vector is A aegypti in areas in which other mosquito species coexist is naive, and could be catastrophic if other species are found to have important roles in Zika virus transmission."

Addendum July 22nd, 2016: A Globe and Mail post by Stephanie Nolen confirmed the worst. Zika was found in Culex quinquefasciatus in Recife – ground zero for the outbreak of fetal brain defects.

"The WHO said it was relying on 'current epidemiological evidence' even though Zika was not found in an Aedes aegypti mosquito here until May."

Culex have significant behavioral differences and necessitate different response strategies. Aegypti bite in the day; Culex bite at night (so bed nets would offer the best protection). The first species breeds in clean water, while the second prefers polluted waterways (such as sewage canals).

FACT: Olympic athletes are almost certain to come into contact with disease-causing viruses that measured up to 1.7 million times the level of what is considered hazardous, according to an AP investigation.

On the WHO's page Water quality for the Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro it actually states:

"WHO does not currently recommend testing of viruses ..." even though they also state:
"There are specific exceptional circumstances where viral testing may add value, such as part of an investigation into a confirmed outbreak of disease where there may be a viral cause."

WHAT?! Doesn't the Zika virus count? Since Culex quinquefasciatus prefer breeding in polluted, sewage-laden waterways, I'd bet my bottom dollar that Rio's Olympic waterways are teeming with the Zika virus.

On June 11th, 2016, Reuters reported: "Rio's Olympic organizing committee referred questions on water quality to state authorities. Rio state's Inea environmental agency responded in an email that they: "follow the WHO's recommendations" and that "searching for super bacteria is not included in that."

Unreal! They don't test for viruses nor super bacteria.


post in The Guardian confirmed: "After the AP's initial report, the Olympics' adviser on health matters, the WHO, said it would carry out its own viral testing in Rio's Olympic waterways. The agency later flip-flopped, finally concluding that bacterial tests alone would suffice." [Gee, I wonder what the WHO found, don't you?]

Addendum August 2nd, 2016: A Brazilian virologist engaged by the AP found consistent and dangerously high levels of viruses that can cause stomach and respiratory illnesses – including heart and brain inflammation.

In the Marina da Gloria, viral readings were actually higher in June 2016 than March 2015 despite efforts from authorities, according to an ABC post by Mary Gearin and Luke Pentony.

Peter Sowrey was fired as chief executive of World Sailing when he asked for a change of venue for the athletes – he didn't resign. Nearly 1,400 athletes at this summer's Olympics will come in contact with highly contaminated waterways.

Getting Back to Mosquitoes and Other Mysteries . . .


Addendum July 23rd, 2016: The Fiocruz institute said a similar study on Culex mosquitoes hasn't produced the same results and it's possible the tested mosquitoes are genetically different than mosquitoes found elsewhere.

September 7th, 2016: The study Culex pipiens quinquefasciatus: a potential vector to transmit Zika virus stated:
"Eight of nine infant mice had positive brains after being bitten by infected mosquitoes. This means that Culex pipiens quinquefasciastus could be infected with and transmit ZIKV following oral infection. These results clearly demonstrate the potential role of Culex as a vector of the Zika virus ..."
September 28th, 2016: A post by Susan Milius in ScienceNews confirmed the following:

Data shared at the International Congress of Entomology on September 26th (including researchers from Brazil, China, and Canada) found the "Zika virus building up in some [types of] Culex mosquitoes".

In Canada, Dr. Fiona Hunter "has found signs that 11 out of 50 wild-caught Culex pipiens mosquitoes picked up the virus somewhere on their bodies. So far, she has completely analyzed one mosquito and reports that the virus was indeed in its saliva".

Note: Viruses must infect the mosquito midgut, travel to the salivary glands, and build up enough of an infective dose to be considered a vector of disease.

Up next, recent findings shared at the Zika Symposium at 2016 International Congress of Entomology. Short on time? Scroll to 30:30 to hear Dr. Constancia Ayres from Fiocruz in Brazil explain her Culex findings:



A Known Survival Rate in GM Mosquitoes . . .


As mentioned in a previous petition update, Dr. Ricarda Steinbrecher published concerns September 2010 that a known survival rate in genetically-modified mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti OX513A (NRE(S)609-2/1/3), warranted further study before their release. Her concerns were echoed by other scientists but have been ignored or quashed. Perhaps we need to revisit this?


An Outlier or Cause for Concern (Indirect Contact May Spread Zika)?


July 18th, 2016: The caregiver of a man who died from Zika (in Utah) has contracted the virus. The caregiver (his son, according to the Wall Street Journal) did not travel to where Zika is circulating; nor had sex with anyone who had traveled to where Zika is found.

I found it odd that WHO changed their wording (shown below) four days prior to Utah case. I know "probably via a sexual route" isn't a smoking gun, but they used to be darn sure that "sharing utensils or a toothbrush" couldn't spread Zika. I get the sense that the WHO and CDC know a lot more about Zika than they are disclosing to the public.

WHO's Zika situation report July 14, 2016 hint at another mode of transmission (other than sexual)
On July 14th, 2016 WHO was no longer definitive about sexual transmission.

Utah's Department of Health "are not aware of any mosquitoes in Utah that carry the Zika virus" but they only mentioned Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. Fortunately, they will be testing area mosquitoes (I hope that includes Culex).

As well, they will be checking the caregiver for skin diseases, cuts, or any other route of infection. So far, the Zika virus has been found in blood, saliva, fluid inside the eye, breast milk, urine, semen, and genital tract swabs. [It wasn't until September 6th, 2016, that published reports emerged that the Zika virus was found in tears, even though CDC's Ted Pestorius mentioned tears as a possible cause in the Utah case a few weeks earlier, on August 12th, 2016].

Update August 2nd, 2016: According to a KSL News report by Ladd Egan, Utah health officials do not believe that local mosquitoes transmitted the virus to the deceased gentleman's son. And, they are still not sure how it was transmitted.

Update August 12th, 2016: Ted Pestorius, an assistant incident manager for the CDC's Zika response, said "it appears that the son may have caught the virus as he wiped his father's tears." The CDC is considering whether it needs to revise guidelines for those who treat and care for people with Zika.

Update September 15th, 2016: JAMA Ophthalmology published Presence of Zika Virus in Conjunctival Fluid which states: "Although isolation of ZIKV in cell culture from urine, semen, saliva, and breast milk has been described, to our knowledge, detection and isolation of ZIKV from conjunctiva has not been reported so far."
I wonder why Ted Pestorius from the CDC thought tears might have been the reason behind the mysterious Utah case? On August 12th, 2016, he said, "It appears that the son may have caught the virus as he wiped his father's tears."
Update September 28th, 2016: The New England Journal of Medicine confirmed the father did, in fact, suffer a fatal zika virus infection. This case highlights the sobering fact that "those who are not severely immunocompromised or chronically ill may nevertheless be at risk for a fatal infection."

Addendum July 19th, 2016: Miami may have Florida's first locally acquired case of Zika. A notable point: "Health officials are also trapping mosquitoes in Utah and testing them for the virus to assess the potential for local transmission. However, the two species known to transmit Zika are not known to be present in Utah."

Could this possibly indicate that Culex (or some other species) is also spreading Zika? It's too bad the CDC flat out rejected the Zika–Culex link in May 2016.

FACT: There is no way to tell if a mosquito is carrying the Zika virus. Infected female mosquitoes may also transmit the Zika virus to their offspring by transovarial (via the eggs) transmission.  Eggs can survive for very long periods in a dry state, often for more than a year. The only need a bit of water to hatch.

Addendum August 30th, 2016: The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene study Vertical Transmission of Zika Virus in Aedes aegypti Mosquitoes states:

"Female Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus were injected with ZIKV, and their adult progeny were tested for ZIKV. Of 69 Ae. aegypti pools, six consisted of a total of 1,738 adults, yielded ZIKV ... In contrast, none of 803 Ae. albopictus adults (32 pools) yielded ZIKV."

FACT: So far, I've discovered two U.S. health departments that have the wrong information about Culex and Aedes mosquitoes:

"Stark County Health Department is setting up traps to catch tiger mosquitoes [aka A. albopictus], which the CDC has identified as possible secondary carriers of Zika ..." [Yet, only 2 percent were found to carry Zika].

And in this Idaho FAQ, it states on page two: "No, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that the Culex mosquito, known for its ability to spread West Nile virus (WNV) in Idaho and elsewhere, could spread Zika virus."

FACT: The CDC has known about researchers' suspicions that Culex mosquitoes could transmit Zika since January 2016. The proof is as follows:

This January 27th, 2016 post by Priscilla Moraes confirmed: "... scientists are now studying whether the culex mosquito could also be passing on the infection ... The study is expected to last three weeks."

And this March 4th, 2016 post by Katie Worth stated:

"One of the most common mosquitoes in the U.S. may have the capacity to carry the Zika virus ... If further research confirms the early results detected in 12 Culex mosquitoes, many countries could be forced to radically rethink their mosquito control campaigns."

The conclusion (published March 3rd, 2016) in Differential Susceptibilities of Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus [tiger mosquitoes] from the Americas to Zika Virus states:

"This study suggests that although susceptible to infection, Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus were unexpectedly low competent vectors for ZIKV [aka Zika]. This may suggest that other factors such as the large naive population for ZIKV and the high densities of human-biting mosquitoes contribute to the rapid spread of ZIKV during the current outbreak."

FACT: In a May 2nd, 2016 post by Aleszu Bajak I learned:

"The CDC has dismissed the Zika–Culex link entirely. Tom Skinner, a senior press officer at the CDC, responded in an email: "[There's] nothing to suggest Culex playing any role in transmission of Zika."

A Rutgers University entomologist, Dina Fonseca, explained more about Culex (which are hardier and about 20 times more prevalent than Aedes mosquitoes):

"... some populations have already adapted to living side-by-side with humans ... and are as efficient at biting humans as Aedes aegypti. Larvae will develop in sewers and pit latrines and adults live in people's houses."

My point: The CDC knew in January 2016 that another type of mosquito could be spreading Zika. Yet in the CDC's 50-page Zika Action Plan, I searched the words "Aedes albopictus" (aka tiger mosquito) and "Culex" and here is what came up. Draw your own conclusions:


Aedes albopictus found on pages 29 and 31  of CDC's 50-page Zika Action Plan
On pages 29 and 31 of CDC's Zika Action Plan (50-page PDF) [Fair Use]

And further along, I found a map of the distribution of Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus:

Pages 31 and 35 of CDC's Zika Action Plan where Aedes mosquitoes are mapped
On pages 31 and 35 of CDC's Zika Action Plan (50-page PDF) [Fair Use]

The CDC has lumped both types of mosquitoes together for home and property owners:

Focus at individual property level in CDC's Zika Action Plan
On page 42 of CDC's Zika Action Plan (50-page PDF) [Fair Use]

The only two places where "Culex" appeared in CDC's 50-page PDF (click to enlarge):

Culex is only mentioned twice in CDC's Zika Action Plan
On pages 36 and 43 (where West Nile Virus info begins) [Fair Use]

April 1st, 2016 is the date on this map the CDC provides to educate the public. And yet I cannot find any map of the Culex mosquito range (unless I include the term "West Nile Virus"). The Guardian did a fabulous job of showing the global range of Culex mosquitoes, so have a peek here.

Wondering if Culex quinquefasciatus (the mosquito studied in Brazil) means the northern Culex pipiens mosquito doesn't pose a threat?

According to University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Services (UF|IFAS): "... there is a broad hybrid zone where Culex quinquefasciatus freely mates with Culex pipiens Linnaeus, which is usually not found south of 39 degrees N."

FACT: A post in The Star states: "According to Hunter, [a medical entomologist], Ontario has 67 mosquito species, about five of which have appeared in the last decade. About "a dozen species" already here could be potential vectors, or disease carriers, of the Zika virus, she says."

Columbia No Longer Testing For Zika?


Addendum July 24th, 2016: In a post by Jane Moon Dail titled I got tested for the Zika virus, I was alarmed to discover this:

Dr. Teresa Foo, DHEC medical consultant, said: "... anyone bitten by mosquitoes in Columbia does not have to worry about Zika ..."

I wonder why? Especially since on January 26th, 2016, ScienceDaily published results from a study in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases which stated:

"Columbia is now only second to Brazil in the number of known Zika infections, " said study lead author Matthew Aliota.

Are we not counting the number of Zika infections any longer in certain areas CDC and WHO?

Addendum September 24th, 2016: In a post by Ian M. Mackay, PhD, titled Columbia Zika virus report, Epidemiological Week No. 37, I discovered the following  key points:
  • The number of "suspicious CZVS (congenital Zika virus syndrome) cases in Columbia are accruing faster than the pace of complete investigation can keep up with".
  • The figure being reported "has no clear understanding of the number of aborted or miscarried fetuses from ZIKV-positive pregnant women".
Dr. Mackay put together a brilliant graph which depicts the ZIKV-positive cases and those under investigation (shown below). Visit VDU's Blog for more details.

VDU's Blog by Ian M. Mackay, PhD. "Colombia Zika virus report, Epidemiological Week No. 37..."
 VDU's Blog Post: Colombia Zika virus report, Epidemiological Week no. 37


Mosquito Bites Make Viruses Deadly


What about herd immunity? The idea behind herd immunity is that once a large percentage of the population has become immune to an infection it protects others who haven't acquired it. And I've read several opinions that "once lots of people get and recover from Zika" it will be safer for everyone.

But here's the kicker: In the June 21st, 2016 issue of the journal Immunity, scientists reported mosquito bites enhance virus replication and dessemination and increase host mortality. 

"Virus infection with mosquito bites mediated earlier and greater dissemination of virus to remote lymphoid tissue and to the brain and in a significant proportion of the mice, converted an avirulent infection into a lethal one."

Yeah, a fairly mild infection became a deadly one in a "significant" number of mice. So the idea that everyone should get bitten by mosquitoes, acquire Zika, and we'll all be protected is downright dangerous, in my opinion.


ADE and Flavivirus Cross-Enhancements


A February 1st, 2016, Time post revealed: "In Recife [Brazil] alone, there was an 800 percent increase in the cases of dengue in 2015 compared to 2014, but many of those cases may turn out to be Zika ... Current lab tests often mix up dengue and Zika."

Jailson Correia, health secretary of Recife, explained, "From those cases, we have confirmation of about 60 percent ... Because dengue and Zika cases have cross reaction, some of the confirmed cases of dengue might have been Zika."

ADE = antibody-dependent enhancement Scott B. Halstead, MD, a leader in dengue research, explained ADE like this:

"Over time, you make and keep protective levels of antibody from the initial infection, but you lose the cross-reactive antibodies. That allows a second infection to cause severe illness. The longer the interval [between infections with different strains], the more severe the disease."

July 5th, 2016: A PLOS research article reported: "Our results demonstrate that ADE between ZIKV and DENV is possible and that the 4G2 antibody is a useful tool for the effects of pre-existing anti-DENV antibodies during ZIKV infections."

In short: Zika virus infection in vitro was enhanced in the presence of a dengue antibody (known as 4G2 mAb). ADE leads to an increase in viral replication and increased viral load of the host.

July 28, 2016: A CIDRAP post by Stephanie Soucheray titled Contrary dengue vaccine response hints at possible problems with Zika has me concerned even more about the World Health Organization.

In April 2016, WHO approved the first dengue vaccine. But Dr. Halstead immediately saw a glaring problem with the 3-year results of the vaccine CYD-TDV (Dengvaxia, Sanofi Pasteur). He said:
"It's clear as the nose on my face: Vaccine recipients less than 5 years old had five to seven times more rates of hospitalizations for severe dengue virus than placebo controls."
Dr. Halstead is referring to a problem dengue researchers have feared; the vaccine probably causes ADE (antibody-dependent enhancement).  He explained:
"Over time, you make and keep protective levels of antibody from the initial infection, but you lose the cross-reactive antibodies. That allows a second dengue infection to cause severe illness, including dengue hemorrhagic fever. The longer the interval [between infections with different dengue strains], the more severe the disease."
With a Zika vaccine, this has to be ruled out. Scott Michael, PhD, co-author of Dengue Virus Antibodies Enhance Zika Virus Infection, confirmed there is plenty of literature that shows cross-enhancements of disease within the flavivirus family.

Vincent Racaniello, PhD, professor of microbiology and immunology at Columbia University in New York, added:
"Given the recent observation that antibodies to dengue virus enhance Zika virus infection, one must also wonder if immunization with CYD [Dengvaxia] can lead to worse Zika virus disease. It's clear that CYD is not the dengue vaccine that the world needs."
Apparently, the Philippines recently "bought 1 million doses of the vaccine" and began vaccinating children on April 4th, 2016 which also reminded me that the Philippine Olympic team will be screened for Zika upon their return after the Games.
"We will screen them when they get back – quarantine and blood test. If negative within 24 hours, they are free to go home," said Health Secretary Paulyn Ubial.
The thing is: the Philippines is only sending about a dozen athletes. I wonder if this is an extra precaution because of the known chance of cross-enhancements? And do these athletes know?

As of March 2016, Dengvaxia was licensed in Mexico, the Philippines, Brazil, and El Salvador. Review processes for the vaccine are underway in other countries where dengue is a public health priority.

The manufacturer, Sanofi Pasteur, has spent over 20 years developing the vaccine at a cost of about 1.5 billion euros (or $1.6 billion US).

The decision by the Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risk (COFEPRIS) to approve the vaccine was based on more than 25 clinical trials conducted by Sanofi Pasteur in 15 countriesincluding Mexico – which involved over 40,000 volunteers.

When I tried to find out where these 25 clinical trials were conducted or the countries of origin for 40,000 volunteers, all I found were these statements on the R & D section of the Sanofi Pasteur webpage:
  • Sanofi Pasteur works with the WHO and the Pediatric Dengue Vaccine Initiative, a program of the International Vaccine Institutes funded by the Gates Foundation.
  • Sanofi Pasteur's dengue vaccine research program includes ongoing clinical studies (adults and children) in endemic regions such as Asia and Latin America.
The Wall Street Journal states: "The WHO's recommendations are based on the review of data from 25 clinical studies conducted in 15 different endemic and non-endemic countries around the world, the company said."

On the WHO's webpage Questions and Answers on Dengue Vaccines, the following countries were mentioned: Mexico, 5 countries in Asia, 5 countries in Latin America, and Thailand. The "5 countries" in Asia and Latin America are not identified – or perhaps I cannot find them.

Then, when I looked at the map of where dengue is endemic, it struck me as obvious why there seems to be little concern for Florida's outbreak of Zika – or for the rest of the U.S. for that matter. But holy crap, it looks like there's a red dot on Utah!

Oddly, on CDC's All Countries & Territories with Active Zika Virus Transmission page (as of July 26th, 2016), Thailand was not listed. But when I viewed the ECDC's Current Zika transmission page (July 29th, 2016), I was stunned to see that a large portion of Thailand was colored pink – indicating widespread transmission in the past three months. Shown next (click to enlarge):


ECDC Current Zika Transmission Worldwide Thailand Has Widespread Transmission in the Past 3 Months
European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control: Current Zika Transmission

Addendum August 1st, 2016: On page 11 of a 48-page PDF Development of Dengue Vaccines: A Review of the Status and Future Considerations, I found the following countries are (were) included in Sanofi Pasteur CYD-TDV Phase III testing:
Authors' note: I underlined the countries where a Zika outbreak has been confirmed.
  • CYD14 Asia: Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia 
Note: On September 9th, 2016, I underlined Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia based on the "Countries with Endemic Zika" listed in the right sidebar of this CDC page (updated Aug. 30th).
  • CYD15 Latin America: Mexico, Honduras, Puerto Rico, Columbia, and Brazil
August 1st, 2016: In just 19 days, the number of Zika virus infections in Mexico rose by 496 and reached 1,285 said the Mexican Health Ministry. Approximately 256 pregnant women were infected during this time period (bringing the total number to 61).

A post by Maggie Koerth-Baker revealed more of the same concerns about cross-enhancements within the flavivirus family:

There are four dengues – distinct genetic subtypes of the virus – and contracting one doesn't grant you immunity to the others. Instead, the immune response produced by the first infection can help other kinds of dengue invade your body more efficiently later.

The result is higher quantities of virus in your bloodstream and more severe effects of the disease. I wonder if this was a factor in the Utah case?

"It's possible that there could be similar effects happening with Zika in people who have already been infected with other mosquito-borne viruses." ~ Ernest Gould, retired prof of virology at Oxford and visiting prof of emerging viruses at Aix-Marseille in France
Addendum August 9th, 2016: I was relieved to read the following in the AAAS research article Protective efficacy of multiple vaccine platforms against Zika virus challenge in rhesus monkeys:
  • Future studies (including preclinical; before human trials) will need to address the potential impact of cross-reactive antibodies against dengue virus and other flaviviruses.
  • Secondary infection with a heterologous dengue serotype can be clinically more severe than initial infection – which may or may not reflect ADE (antibody-dependent enhancement).
  • Cross-reactive antibodies between Zika and dengue virus have also been noted and dengue-specific antibodies have increased Zika replication in vitro.
  • The relevance and implications of these findings for Zika vaccine development remain to be determined.

Human Vaccine Trials Already? And During Mosquito Season?


August 3rd, 2016: The National Institutes of Health (NIH) have begun a human clinical trial of a DNA vaccine to prevent Zika. At least 80 healthy volunteers (ages 18 to 35) are enrolled at: NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, Maryland; the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore (north-central Maryland); and The Hope Clinic in Atlanta, Georgia.

Apparently, volunteers received the experimental injection Tuesday (August 2nd, 2016), even though September was the initial start dateResults are expected by the end of 2016 and if deemed safe (and effective), NIAID plans to begin trying it out in Zika-endemic countries by early 2017.

According to this Reuters post, U.S. vaccine maker Inovio Pharmaceuticals won the FDA's approval in June to begin testing its DNA Zika vaccine in humans. Clinical trials began last month (July 2016) and involve 40 healthy adult volunteers in Miami, Philadelphia, and Quebec City.

The problems with a DNA vaccine . . .


In an eye-opening interview with Dr. Peter Hotez published July 19th, 2016 by Kara Elam, I discovered the following key points:
  • The biomedical literature is filled with dozens, if not hundreds, of DNA vaccine candidates that worked in mice, but none have produced protective immunity in humans.
  • "In the case of Zika, you want to see high levels of neutralizing antibody, and to my knowledge, we have just not seen that in DNA vaccines ... you never say never, but so far the advancement of DNA vaccines is disappointing."
On June 20th, 2016, a post in The Guardian by Jessica Glenza included these comments by Dr. Peter Hotez:
"What is not really being said is that once phase one trials are completed, it is likely that progress towards licensure will slow significantly. The FDA or other regulatory bodies will need to see trials to ensure the vaccine does not induce Guillain-BarrĂ© syndrome, as does the Zika virus itself. Since the vaccine would likely be needed for pregnant women (or women who are about to become pregnant), the FDA will want to see extensive safety data in these populations."
The reality:
"The average time to take a vaccine from the lab to somebody's arm is about 10 to 15 years." ~ Karen Kotloff, pediatrics prof, head of infectious disease at Maryland University's School of Medicine, and member of the FDA's vaccine and related biological products advisory committee
My concern is that phase I is being conducted during mosquito season in these regions of the world (and I also wonder if these volunteers know about all of the known risks to date – particularly GBS, ADE and flavivirus cross-reactive enhancement).


Aerial Spraying


Addendum July 23rd, 2016: On July 3rd, I shared a post on Google: Brazil won't tell people what the h*ll they are spraying. Now, I wonder if it was (is) Naled. In The Huffington Post, Laura Barron-Lopez reported:

"... the federal government came close to spraying a pesticide across Puerto Rico that is highly toxic and presents the most danger to pregnant women."

The CDC even shipped it (an insecticide called Naled) to Puerto Rico without notifying the commonwealth.

Fortunately, Puerto Rican Gov. Padilla decided against using Naled. He confronted the CDC and questioned why he was not alerted to the shipment.

Naled is a neurotoxin "among the class of the most toxic pesticides" and even at legally allowed exposure levels is "definitely not safe during early brain development," confirmed senior scientist Jennifer Sass to The Huffington Post.

Update: Washington Examiner's Robert King wrote,"The Puerto Rican city of San Juan is suing the federal government ... a San Juan city official objected to the use of the pesticide [Naled], but the CDC responded it would carry out the spraying 'with or without the consent and cooperation of local authorities,' the lawsuit noted."

Addendum August 7th, 2016: In a KCAL9 CBS Los Angeles report, Dr. Claire Panosian Dunavan, an infectious disease expert, stated (at the 3:55 minute mark): "They're now using Naled which has been used in Puerto Rico."  Oops, the cat is outta the bag now CDC!

The  No Spray Coalition put out an excellent NALED Insecticide Fact Sheet. Key points:
  • CDC states chemicals used to kill adult mosquitoes by ground or aerial applications are usually the least efficient mosquito control technique.
  • New York's Department of Health reported that 11 years of Naled spraying was successful in achieving short-term reductions in mosquito abundance, but populations of the disease-carrying mosquito of concern increased 15-fold over the 11 years of spraying.
  • In lab animals, exposure to Naled for just three days during pregnancy reduced brain size by 15 percent.
  • Naled was 20 times more toxic to rats when inhaled than by eating contaminated food or water.
On August 3rd, 2016, a Reuters post confirmed Florida will use Naled in its aerial campaign to control Zika. They had been using two products in the pyrethroid class of insecticides but CDC director, Thomas Frieden, said vector control efforts have not been as effective as hoped.

And speaking of aerial, on September 8th, 2016 I discovered an Airways post which stated:
"Traditionally, airlines operating into regions where there is a risk of malaria-carrying mosquitoes or other unwelcome insect life having sneaked on board have a simple solution: just spray the cabin with aerosols of insecticide on departure."
"However, the CDC says that the chance of Zika-carrying mosquitoes getting on board commercial flights is slight and it does not recommend any prophylactic spraying of cabins."
On September 21st, a post by Donald G. McNeil Jr. confirmed what most people are thinking after the CDC lifted its travel advisory for the Wynwood area of Miami, Florida:
Virtually no entomologists believe that the transmission of Zika is limited to a few square miles of downtown Miami and Miami Beach, no matter how vigorously state officials insist it is.
"That's just dreaming – it's totally unrealistic. Mosquitoes move around, people move around. Mosquitoes even move by car sometimes," said Duane J. Gubler, CDC's former director of the vector-borne diseases division.

Why isn't the CDC recommending Bti, an organic larvicide? [Addendum September 24th, 2016: Oh wait, they did use Bti, but the CDC is still crediting Naled for "what ended the outbreak" in the Wynwood area]. Funny, I never heard anything about Bti being used previously or recommended by the CDC.


A 1985 study concluded granular formulations of Bti controlled Ae. aegypti in tires for 19 to 33 days and Bti briquets exhibited larvicidal activity in large containers for 26 to 78 days. A 2003 study stated Bti are highly effective against mosquito larvae at very low doses and safe for other non-targeted organisms. Note: I explain more about Bti at the end of this blog post.


Florida Instructed to Keep Mosquito Sites Secret


A September 25th, 2016, post in the Miami Herald states: "Florida's health department strongly denied instructing local officials to keep the information confidential – and said the decision was entirely up to Miami-Dade – after the Miami Herald reported that a county attorney said the state agency had ordered them to keep it a secret."

The Miami Herald lawsuit made 26 solid points justifying the disclosure "of the locations on grounds that the information would help the public make decisions about precautions to take if they live or work nearby" and "also inform the community debate regarding the use of the insecticide Naled".

Underestimating Ebola and Bungled Yellow Fever Response


FACT: The WHO acknowledged in 2014 that it botched attempts to stop the Ebola outbreak. In a draft document, WHO admitted:
"Nearly everyone involved in the outbreak response failed to see some fairly plain writing on the wall. A perfect storm was brewing, ready to burst open in full force."
Reporters were told that the document would be issued publicly, but the WHO reneged stating in an email that it "would now probably not be released publicly" and no official at the agency would comment, according to this CBC post.

On August 4th, 2016, the CBC posted 7 key findings from UN's bungled response to yellow fever.  The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN).  I was shocked to learn the following:
  • About 1 million doses of the vaccine disappeared.
  • Vaccines were sent (and used) in areas that did not have yellow fever without explanation.
  • Some vaccines were shipped to infected regions without syringes.
  • Vaccines weren't always kept cold enough to be effective.
  • Diluted or fractional dosing was proposed as a plan to stretch availability.
What's more, WHO's Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan emailed Dr. Joanne Liu ... to resolve the problem. And to avoid bad publicity, Chan asked Liu not to share the email.

FACT: During the Ebola crisis, we were fed the following headlines:
Ebola virus lives on in semen months after recovery, new research finds
FACT: The CDC admits, "We don't know exactly how long Zika stays in semen or how long it can be passed to sex partners."

FACT: In a WBUR 90.9 post, Dr. Dean Blumberg explained, "So it's [Zika] been detected up to 62 days after infection, but that's where they stopped checking. So does that mean it's still viable 70 days, 80 days, three months, six months later?"

Addendum July 21st, 2016: A study published in The Lancet journal Infectious Diseases states: "Zika virus was detected in semen 93 days after the onset of Zika fever symptoms." Data from this case indicates:

1) People returning from non-epidemic areas (such as Thailand) can become infected with the Zika virus.
2) Semen can carry Zika virus produced in a currently unknown replication reservoir.

Addendum August 12th, 2016: The Huffington Post pointed out the results of two reports published in the journal Eurosurveillance.

One man's semen tested positive for the Zika virus 188 days post-infection and a second man's semen tested positive 181 days after infection.

Therefore, Zika can live in semen for over 6 months!


But the CDC has not changed their recommendations. Apparently, Dr. John T. Brooks, CDC's senior medical adviser, countered that Zika virus in semen doesn't necessarily imply the presence of infective virus. He told The Huffinton Post, "If we find there's a need to change current recommendations, we'll do it as soon as we can."

An August 26th, 2016 CNN post stated:
"Researchers have known for some time that Zika can be transmitted via semen from men to women, hiding in the testes, where it can avoid the immune system; in fact, there is mounting evidence that it can continue to replicate in the testes – and even increase the viral load – for months after infection."

Doesn't it seem a little disconcerting that we are told 1-month, then 2-months, then 6-months and then (in some cases) 2 years to wait to have children?

I find it alarming that the media (including doctors) and the Olympic committees and their team doctors are putting their trust in the World Health Organization (WHO). Especially since I discovered this April 11th, 2016 update on the WHO's website which still states:

"Advise travellers from areas with ongoing Zika virus transmission to practice safer sex and not to donate blood for at least 1 month after return, to reduce the potential risk of onwards transmission."

And I'm disturbed that I've found travel sites using this WHO webpage to advise travelers.

It wasn't until May 31st, 2016 that WHO said "you should wait a full eight weeks to have unprotected sex or attempt to conceive a baby, even if you have no symptoms of the disease." Previously, WHO suggested taking precautions or abstaining for only four weeks.

FACT: One in five people infected have no symptoms (80 percent have no idea they are infected). And Zika can cause microcephaly even if moms have no symptoms.

FACT: Late-onset microcephaly can occur when mothers are infected late in their pregnancies. At birth, babies appear to have normal-sized heads. But by six months of age, they have microcephaly because their head hasn't kept up with normal growth.

A FIGO (International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics) post states Zika may be responsible for many deformities (such as arthrogryposis) and that microcephaly is just one aspect of congenital Zika syndrome.

What About Our Blood Supply?


October 21st, 2016: See the comments section of my following public Facebook post (only Canadian Blood Services has responded to me):


Why Mosquito Repellents Won't Work For Everybody


Think DEET-containing bug repellents will work?

In the 80s and 90s this neurotoxin came with multiple warnings. Dr. Mohammed Abou-Donia of Duke University studied lab animals' performing neuro-behavioural tasks requiring muscle co-ordination. He reported:
  • Lab animals exposed to the equivalent of average human doses of DEET performed far worse than untreated animals.
  • Combined exposure to DEET and permethrin can lead to motor deficits, learning and memory dysfunction.

Yet, I've noticed in the last couple of years, DEET has somehow been magically deemed safe!

Warnings state for children 6 months to 2 years of age, only concentration of less than 10 percent DEET should be used and only once a day.

For children 2 to 12 years of age, again, only concentrations of less than 10 percent DEET and it should not be applied more than 3 times a day.

Pregnant women shouldn't use DEET (and mosquitoes are drawn to pregnant women because they exhale more carbon dioxide and their bodies are generally warmer than the rest of us).

Problem is: CDC says < 10 percent DEET may only offer limited protection (only 1 to 2 hours) and recommends using products with (at least) 20 percent DEET.

Bottom Line: Pregnant women and children under 12 years of age will not be able to protect themselves adequately using the most effective (and recommended) mosquito repellents.

Lastly, I urge you to listen to Dr. Peter Hotez, scientist, pediatrician, and advocate in the fields of global health, vaccinology, and neglected tropical disease control. He is the founding dean and chief of the Baylor College of Medicine National School of Tropical Medicine in the Department of pediatrics and holds the Texas Children's Hospital Endowed Chair in Tropical Pediatrics.

Note: If you are short on time, scroll to the 6-minute mark:


If you want to help mitigate the spread of the Brazilian strain of Zika, I have a petition you can sign (you don't have to donate and you can put "no sorry" in place of zip code or postal code): 


Keep up-to-date on my devoted Facebook page: Zika: Let's Stop a Global Pandemic

If you wish to fund Zika research, I am donating a percentage of my royalties from products I designed for my latest Zazzle collection (there are over 25 items to choose from now).

My Public Service Announcement 





Scientists' Recommendations to Prevent Mosquitoes 


July 25th, 2016: Kacey C. Ernst PhD, MPH, associate professor in the epidemiology and biostatistics department at the University of Arizona, recommends using Bti pellets for "standing water that can't be removed, such as small water features or even bromeliad flowers that hold enough water for mosquitoes to breed in. It's safe for humans and pets."

Bti (Bacillus thuringiensis serotype israelensis) is a group of bacteria that helps eradicate mosquitoes, fungus gnats, and blackflies – yet has almost zero effect on other organisms. I found this product reasonably priced on Amazon: Mosquito Bits (it's available in 30 oz, 60 oz, or in combination with Mosquito Dunks).

Mosquito Bits Instructions:
Sprinkle 1 tsp. per 25 square feet or 1 tbsp. per 75 square feet (1/2 lb. per 2178 square feet) uniformly over surface of water. A seven to fourteen day interval between applications is recommended. Mosquito Bits can be used in water that contains aquatic life, fish, and plants. Safe in areas that come in contact with humans, animals, horses, livestock, pets, birds, or wildlife. DO NOT APPLY to finished, treated human drinking water sources.

As for mosquito repellents, an Oxford study published October 5th, 2015 in the Journal of Insect Science titled The Efficacy of Some Commercially Available Insect Repellents for Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus provides an excellent overview of brands and their effectiveness.

A 2013 NCBI publication The efficacy of repellents against Aedes, Anopheles, Culex and Ixodes spp. - a literature review states:

Regarding Aedes, DEET at concentration of 20 percent or more, showed the best efficacy providing up to 10 h protection. Ae. aegypti proved more difficult to repel than Ae. albopictus.

Culex mosquitoes were easier to repel. All four repellents provided good protection: DEET, Icaridin as well as piperidine-derived products (SS220), Insect Repellent (IR) 3535 (ethyl butylacetylaminopropionat, EBAAP) and plant-derived products, including Citriodora (para-menthane-3, 8-diol).

Apparently, adding vanillin 5 percent to plant-based repellents and to DEET repellents increased protection by about 2 hours.


Of course, if there proves to be a genetically different type of mosquito or some other vector we need to protect against, I'll add to these recommendations.


Thank you for reading this letter in full.


Take good care,

Rose Webster
Canadian freelance writer and activist
Formerly employed in healthcare 20 years