[UPDATE: September 14, 2016 – As this situation is playing out in real time, I continue to research and review medical updates about what has changed the Zika virus into something which has become so dangerous to pregnant women. I’m leaving this post here, which is about Sumilarv being added to the drinking water, until a definitive answer, or answers, become known. At this point, nothing can be ruled out]
There are two very different things going on here which have been joined together and have only made people scared and confused: 1) Being bitten by a mosquito carrying the Zika virus which results in the person getting sick with the virus and feeling like they have the flu, AND 2) giving birth to a child with birth defects like microcephaly and brain damage.
Think of those two things like apples and oranges because they are not the same thing and they are not directly related to each other.
They are, however, indirectly linked and the thing that connects them is a very large amount of stupid human intervention(s) coupled with greed. I’ll try to be brief but explanatory. I normally try to build a case and provide lots of links and sources, but I’ll add more of those later if they seem like they’ll be helpful.
What’s causing the microcephaly?
It’s not the Zika virus. To understand what’s going on with all the (totally understandable) hysteria about the Zika virus, you have to break it down in two ways. The first thing to get out of the way immediately is the microcephaly, which is a birth defect resulting in babies with abnormally small head sizes and brain damage. The Zika virus is not causing microcephaly. There is no direct relationship between the Zika virus and babies being born with small heads and brain damage.
The microcephaly is a direct result of a chemical which is being used by the Brazilian Ministry of Health to kill the Aedes mosquito, which transmits the Zika virus and which has become resistant to the previously used chemical called temephos. In place of temephos, the Brazilian Ministry of Health is putting something called pyroproxyfen in some of their reservoirs (which hold their drinking water). This is a huge and entirely avoidable tragedy, a la Flint, Michigan, but it may get much worse. Reports indicate that other regions in Latin America may greenlight aerial spraying with pyroproxyfen over huge swaths of terrain. This is a very bad idea and I suspect it’s the reason that both Brazilian and Argentine (non-governmental) health organizations are issuing public warnings.
It’s important for people not to panic. The Zika virus, which is milder, but not unlike, Dengue fever, West Nile virus, Chikungunya, Yellow Fever, and certain types of encephalitis, is an arbovirus infection transmitted by the Aedes mosquito. While there are health problems associated with the Zika virus if you are infected (like Guillain Barre syndrome), having babies born with birth defects is not one of them.
It’s also very important for people around the world to grasp what’s going on here, because this manmade “crisis,” much like what happened in the American city of Flint, could have, and can be, avoided. This health crisis in Brazil takes on global proportions because it is fueled, once again, by the greed of multinational corporations and the assistance and sanctioning of governmental bodies; in this case, the World Health Organization and the Brazilian Ministry of Health. Yes, there was a baby born in Hawaii recently with microcephaly. The mother of that baby had been in Brazil while pregnant – you see? We need to make these connections for ourselves instead of panic because if “we the people” do not, false assumptions will be made for us by those who wish to profit from the misinformation, and misfortune, of others.
To restate, despite millions of people being infected with mosquito borne viruses like Zika in the past, literally including past Zika epidemics which have infected 75% of the population (in affected countries), birth defects and microcephaly in newborns were not reported. The huge incidence of birth defects and microcephaly which is being reported now is due to a chemical called pyroproxyfen (sometimes spelled pyriproxyfen) not only being added to the drinking water in northeastern Brazil, but also slated to begin being sprayed aerially as a larvicide to eradicate the Aedes mosquito. Bad idea. Very bad.
Pyroproxyfen is commercially known as Sumilarv and it’s manufactured by Sumitomo Chemical, a Japanese company which is in a strategic partnership with Monsanto in Latin America. If that’s setting off alarm bells for some of you, it should. By the way, everyone should get familiar with the term “vector control” because it’s going to be impacting us all. The addition of Sumilarv to the drinking water in parts of Brazil has only been happening since 2014 (it’s been roughly 18 months) and has resulted in at least 4,000 thousand babies being born with abnormally small heads and brain damage
There were two very important non-governmental reports recently issued by groups who are seeing the direct connection on the ground in Latin America between birth defects and chemical poisons being administered directly upon unknowing civilian populations, AND which is being sanctioned by the World Health Organization and PAHO, among others. This means, essentially, that all of us are in the line of fire, vulnerable to health policy decisions influenced and directed by multinational corporations whose sole concerns are profits.
The first report, which I have annotated in the iFrame below, is by the Argentine group Physicians in Crop Sprayed Towns and can be read directly on their website here, if you prefer. This is my copy:
The second, also excellent and very similar report (released in January 2016) is by the Brazilian Association for Collective Health, which is known as ABRASCO. Their report is in Portuguese and although I translated it so that I could read it (via Google Translate), I won’t put a copy of it here since it’s similar to the Argentine report above. The direct link to the ABRASCO website is here.
As the Argentine report notes, mass sprayings are not the solution. They are merely generating a (new) “business within a problem,” or:
What about those genetically modified (GM) mosquitos?
The second “tier” problem (or, “new business”) here involves the usage of genetically modified mosquitos, which both of the above reports refer to, and which has been widely blamed in the media for both the prevalence of the Zika virus (which may be true) and the widespread incidence of birth defects and microcephaly (this is not true).
Here’s what’s going on: There is a British company (called Oxitec) which was recently acquired by an American company (Intrexon) that has genetically inserted a lethal gene mutation into male mosquitos in an attempt to sell these GM mosquitos (which they have sold a lot of) to countries so that wild female mosquitos will mate with these GM mosquitos and have eggs/larvae which die spontaneously. Great business model – awesome for their bottom line. Not so good for people who have to deal with the many millions of GM male mosquitos. If you have ANY doubt about how many billions of dollars are being thrown all over the place thanks to the insane PR campaign about the Zika virus, which, to the unknowing reading, sounds like a fate worse than death (although it’s less devastating than the flu), just read this Motley Fool article.
This is another area where short-sighted greed, bureaucratic idiocy, and an assist from some very big foundations and the World Health Organization just make everything worse. The end result is that these 15 million or so GM male mosquitos, which have been bought and released in Brazil, are not making anything better, unless you’re with agribusiness or the drug companies. Plus, they’re probably actually spreading the Zika virus (but NOT microcephaly, remember/).
Here’s why: The female mosquito only stings (sucks blood) when it’s pregnant and generating eggs after being fertilized by the male. She does this because she needs blood components in order to help her eggs develop. Oxitec has worsened the situation by adding many million MORE (15 million) male mosquitos into the equation, so…guess what? Yep. Lots more pregnant females – resulting in more mosquito bites, resulting in more Zika virus being spread. And there’s not only that unintended (or is it?) consequence, but the Brazilian government then instructs people not to kill the mosquitos because the male (Genetically Modified, also known as “bought”) mosquitos need to be doing their thing, potentially, which, by the way, they are not.
So many onion layers of stupid here. The people on the ground are being used like chess pieces for filthy rich multinational corporations who take advantage of corrupt governments and organizations. Wash, rinse, repeat. How many frequent flyer miles, committees, research papers, myopic and navel-gazing bureaucrats and cogs in the wheel, have not only squandered pretty much everything while torturing innocent people and animals (I’ve read some of the medical research papers today, and I’m too emotionally traumatized by the image of all those lab animals to put a link to them here for you guys to also be traumatized). This nifty “business model” of spreading the misery and exploiting both the uneducated, and educated, huddled masses who are being barraged with too much information to be able to figure it out (and a shout out to Blaine Bershad for bringing this mess to my attention!), keep paying the ultimate price. Innocent babies are being born (or maybe not ever getting to be born), they and their families suffer terribly, and then they die an early an awful death, leaving so many behind who are devastated and traumatized for the rest of their lives.
Who else has had enough?
“Brazil asks whether Zika acts alone to cause birth defects,” Nature, July 25, 2016.