Zika odds still slim as Australians diagnosed


vial says "zika"

Experts are still searching for confirmation that the Zika virus is the cause of microcephaly – but the odds of an infected mother’s baby having microcephaly remain slim.

“With two recent papers in the past week, we have seen some stronger evidence that Zika virus, but not other viruses that were sought and not found, seems to have a strong affinity for brain tissue but not other tissues. But these reports do not point to a “smoking gun,” says Adjunct Associate Professor Ian Mackay, Professor of Virology at the Australian Infectious Diseases Research Centre at the University of Queensland.

“The presence of Zika virus genetic material in the brain tissue of a fetus during a time of an epidemic of that virus is not proof that the virus causes the brain injuries,” he says.

“Proving that link will take some time and will be hard to achieve.”

He says the odds are “very slim” that an infected pregnant woman’s baby would be affected by microcephaly.

“If Brazil’s numbers hold up – and that is still under investigation – roughly 4,000 diagnoses of microcephaly occurred from among 3 million births in 2015,” he says.

A Victorian woman has been diagnosed with Zika virus following an earlier case in Queensland.

Professor Cheryl Jones, Professor of Paediatrics at The University of Sydney and Marie Bashir Institute for Infectious Diseases and Biosecurity, and President of the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases, says it is not yet known if Zika causes microcephaly.

“A causal link is biologically plausible as mother to child transmission of Zika virus during pregnancy can occur, and Zika virus has been detected in pathological tissues including the brain of fetal losses.

“An increase in babies born with microcephaly in Brazil occurred at the same time as increases in Zika virus infection in the population.”

Meanwhile, a group of physicians in Argentina say that a pesticide called pyriproxyfen may be the cause of the increase in cases of microcephaly.

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1 Comment

  1. AdamNeira
    16/02/2016

    12:06 CET Tues. 16th Feb. 2016 Ian Mackay “Could a pesticide not Zika be behind birth defects in Brazil ?” http://www.thewire.org.au/storyDetail.aspx?ID=13615… [Probably not, but nothing should be assumed]

    Why is Ian Mackay posting such unscientific crap ? Why is he lending any support to crazy conspiracy theories ? He is obviously not as smart as he thinks he is. As I stated publically on Oct. 30th 2015 there is a 100% proven link between the current outbreak of severe Microcephaly in Brazil and the mutant Zika strain. The outbreak of Microcephaly, Guillain–Barré Syndrome and other neurological disorders is not because of Pesticides, GM Mosquitoes, “Climate Change” or Alien Visitation.

    Evidence presented to the court…

    “New report shows evidence of Zika virus in the fetal brain.”

    http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1600651

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/02/16/doctor-zika-virus-likely-causing-brain-damage-worse-than-what-you-re-told.html

    12:56 CET Thurs. 11th Feb. 2016 The office of Dr. Artur Timerman, President of the Brazilian Dengue and Arbovirus Society, in the city of São Paulo cannot currently help with any inquiries about the latest Zika-Microcephaly statistics in the country. He returns to the office on the 16th Feb. He is one of Brazil’s leading experts on mosquito borne diseases. I like getting information straight from the horse’s mouth.

    http://brasil.elpais.com/brasil/2015/12/08/politica/1449592299_811901.html?id_externo_rsoc=TW_CM

    11:50 CET Mon. 15th Feb. 2016 Vincent Racaniello, Higgins Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons hosts a regular webcast entitled “This Week in Virology”. Ever since my earliest research into Ebola in May 2014 I have been listening to all of the TWIV webcasts. Usually they are about an hour long. This latest webcast about Zika published eighteen hours ago is very important. The six assembled experts, and in this case the word “expert” is correct, are some of the best virologists in the world. They all know their stuff. The webcast confirms that there is a very high likelihood that a mutation event has occured with the Zika virus strain in Sth.America. (See all my previous comments about this.) And the virologists also agree that it is now proven that there is a 100% link between the mutant Zika strain and the outbreak of Microcephaly in Brazil. QED

    http://www.microbe.tv/twiv/twiv-376/ Duration 109 mins

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9VHgWjL_Qs

    http://www.forbes.com/forbes/welcome/#3f90d8b920e6

    14:37 CET Mon. 15th Feb. 2016 LATEST STATISTICS from Brazil’s Ministry of Health :

    5079 cases of Microcephaly reported up till the 6th Feb. (Published late on Friday.)

    There is no indication from the Brazilian MOH how they are collating their statistics. And there is a huge amount of greyness around such issues as : What constitutes a suspected case ? i.e. Reduce the defined millimetre head circumference range and you reduce the numbers. Fiddle the books. How is the testing and verification being done ? What is the protocol in place in each of the 26 states plus the one federal district for reporting of cases of birth defects to the national database ? How does their SINASC birth recording system actually work ? Can the numbers be manipulated and/or hidden ? If the Brazilian MOH was being more transparent it would allay a lot of concerns people are having right now.

    If the rate of Microcephaly cases as a result of the mutant Zika virus strain in Brazil keeps rising by 6% per week that will mean by the time of the planned start of Rio 2016 on Aug. 5th, 172 days from now, there will be 23,106 local newborns with Microcephaly just in Brazil. Over 10 months (since the start of this outbreak in Oct. 2015) / 2.7 million live births p.a. in Brazil = 225,000 p.m. this means the chance that a mother will give birth to a microcephalic baby will be 1 in 98. As I have noted previously, before 2015 the chance that a mother in Brazil would give birth to a microcephalic baby was close to 1 in 5000. And even then most case were in the mild category. i.e. Damage to the eyesight in these new cases is now twenty times more common than it was in the past. If the rate of infections increase is higher than 6% per week then the Aug. 5th number will be much higher of course. If it goes exponential well…Plus remember there is also the risk of Guillain-Barré Syndrome and other associated neurological disorders. And watch Venezuela and Colombia in the coming days and weeks. Lag effect ? Thus the whole situation requires proper epidemiological analysis to track the various scenarios so people can make calculated risk assessments.

    Could the Olympics actually be cancelled ? Big question…Take note the athlete’s village is due to open on 24th July and pre-event training camps are open now. So we are at a crucial point where there is a confluence of public concern and heightened awareness and the need to finalise the logistics of the event, spectators booking tickets, hotels etc. If the number of infections and public awareness reaches a tipping point and female athletes, and thus their support crew and thus spectators decide to bail then the IOC will need to pull the plug on the whole event. It will be a case of, “It’s all too difficult. The risks are too high. Let’s call the whole thing off.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOILZ_D3aRg 191238

    But watch what happens closely now. The fact is that various people who are going to make of lot of money from the Olympics may decide to cajole all the various national Olympic Committees and thus the female athletes into going. They will engage in truth suppression in the media to hide the true extent of the problem. In a Machiavellian way they will rationalise things and say that if 45 female athletes later give birth to Microcephalic babies and say 3 athletes die from GBS then it will have been worth it. A necessary sacrifice so the games and their bank balance could go on.

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