April 18th 2016
Following both WHO statement and press release of NEJM, CDC declared last week that Zika virus is cause for microcephaly and other neural collateral damages. What a stress related to this short shrift by US CdC for science. In other words, Game is over and time to go back to R&D for searching and developing, producing asap new vaccine, new drugs to fight Zika, keeping an eye on vector control, more specifically Aedes aegypti and albopictus (mosquitoes carrier of DENV, CHIKV and ZIKV).
Forget the root causes analysis; don’t mind whatever co-factors are responsible for occurrence and emergence of microcephaly beside Zika virus; CDC says that Zika is cause of microcephaly and that might be enough to agree. Don’t You? But Why? US National Health Agencies are seeking for Funds (1.9 BN $) in order to cope with an outbreak preparedness plan, classified as likely; Congress is still refusing to raise and allocate this funds waiting for more conclusive evidence of Home security threat. No doubt, there is a conflicting situation between White House and Congress (Republicans) with regards the on coming presidential election. May be too far from Public/Global Health issues?….
We have to raise this question, right now: is the Zika threat overestimated? and if yes, why? Is the risk related to microcephaly over reported by exaggerating alarming numbers? Is there a link between false reporting of Zika cases (just suspected but not tested) and politics at a time where Brazilian government is facing an Impeachment procedure? The PHEIC declared by WHO is addressing unanswered questions about microcephaly observed and recorded in Brazil; surprisingly, only states of North-East regions are concerned so far, raising interest about causative of microcephaly beyond Zika virus, through co-factors or different risk factors as previously explained; mostly pointing out the role and responsibility of DENV or IgM,IgG immunization reaction following infection or co-infection with Zika virus.
Colombia appears to play the role of a control group by comparing stats with Brazil. Fortunately, a few microcephaly cases are related to Zika virus so far: only 2 cases as of today, when we are observing fewer microcephaly cases related to Zika than cases related to the other viral causes (Rubella, CMV). Surprise, surprise…
Q: What is the predictive value of Brazilian numbers? The first estimates have been reviewed and reduced from 600.000 to 200.000 cases. Do you remember the estimates for Ebola at the beginning of the outbreak in West Africa? How credible are these forecasts based on maths modeling and far away from the front line?
It looks like Scientists and Health agencies running a race against the time to get money and budget just before publishing evidence for a multi-causal model explaining microcephaly in Brazil; budget which could not be voted without stressing on Congressmen and before a “Name and Shame” procedure for Republicans refusing to allocate the resources to fight the Tiger; knowing the race for Presidential is at its final stage. Some writers tried to compare with a terrorist threat, even if a bit rude but efficient.
Who has interests to hide the truth in Brazil? Not to report how many People living in NE are impacted in areas outside of basic sanitation and running water? Dilma Roussef is now involved in a process leading to Impeachment following lower chamber’s decision. The increase of microcephaly cases, whatever the cause is, are reflecting the poor management of Public/Global Health concerns: lack of waste management, no access to drinkable water, black and grey waters surrounding at community level. No resources (human and equipment) to fight mosquito, except recently by committing the Army forces but pesticide is no longer available in some areas. No tests performed; just report of suspected cases based on clinical symptoms (not specific). No medico-social support for mothers of newborns with microcephaly, abandoned, without long term help and follow-up implemented. The failure and bankruptcy of a Democracy which expected to conduct a social economy but in fact corrupted at its highest level.
Definitively, it is legitimate questioning CDC who has jumped the gun by convicting Zika for microcephaly.