stop the spread of the Zika virus
outbreak which has seen huge
numbers of babies born with small
heads and cast a shadow over the
- More than 200,000 soldiers are being sent 'house to house' in Brazil in the battle against Zika-carrying mosquitoes
- They are to distribute leaflets and dispense advice, signalling a major ramping up of efforts against the Zika virus
- Although not deadly, the virus has been linked to cases of severe brain damage and birth defects in newborn babies
- Pregnant women are being told to avoid travelling to the affected 22 countries, including in Latin America and Africa
- Cases have also been reported in Europe, with four in Italy, three in Britain and two in region of Catalonia in Spain
Soldiers will visit homes across Brazil, distributing leaflets and dispensing advice, according to Health Minister Marcelo Castro, signalling a major ramping up of efforts against the Zika virus.
The government, under growing pressure to deal with the crisis, will also hand out repellent to at least 400,000 pregnant women on social welfare.
The virus has been linked to serious birth defects, including microcephaly, in which babies born to women infected during pregnancy have abnormally small heads. Concerns remain that the terrifying virus could become a global issue with Rio hosting the Olympics in the summer.
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Heartbreaking: The Zika virus has been blamed for causing severe brain damage to newborn babies. Pictured, Estafany Perreira holds her five-month-old nephew David Henrique Ferreira, who has microcephaly, in Recife, Brazil
Ready for battle: Brazil has sent in 200,000 soldiers to distribute leaflets and dispense advice in the fight against the growing epidemic
It comes as the World Health Organisation said that the virus, which is suspected causing horrific brain damage to babies, will spread throughout all countries in America except Chile and Canada.
'Our investigation is on course to develop a better testing with respect to the prenatal transmission of the disease, and to better understand how the virus affects babies,' said a spokesman for the organisation.
A surge in incidents across Latin America, notably in Brazil, has prompted the United States and other governments to warn pregnant women against traveling to the region - an alarming prospect for Brazil as it gears up to welcome the Olympics to Rio de Janeiro in August.
Cases of the virus have also been discovered in Europe - with three cases in Great Britain, four in Italy and two in Spain's Catalonia region. The British travellers had picked up the disease after being bitten by mosquitoes while visiting Colombia, Suriname and Guyana.
All the cases so far discovered in Europe have been in people who recently returned from trips to Latin America or the Caribbean.
But experts now believe that the disease itself could potentially be spread within Italy by the Tiger Mosquito – which, although once native to Asia, is now widespread across southern Europe.
‘The disease could be carried by the Tiger Mosquito,’ Fabrizio Pregliasco, a virologist at the University of Milan, told La Repubblica.
Helping hand: A pediatric infectologist at Oswaldo Cruz Hospital examines 2-month-old Ludmilla Hadassa Dias de Vasconcelos, who has microcephaly
Insecticide is sprayed by workers in the Sambadrome today, ahead of a carnival performance where thousands of dancers will parade
Warning: The World Health Organisation said that the virus will spread across all countries in the Americas, except for Chile and Canada. Pictured, mother Mylene Helena Ferreira (centre) carries her five-month-old son David, who has microcephaly, in Recife, Brazil
Line-up: Brazilian Army soldiers walk while canvassing a neighbourhood in an attempt to eradicate the larvae of the mosquito which causes the Zika virus, while informing the public of preventive methods
Concern: Pregnant women have been warned not to travel to the 22 countries where outbreaks have been reported, as the Zika virus has been linked to microcephaly, in which babies born to women infected during pregnancy have abnormally small heads
‘The infected patient was then bitten by a Tiger Mosquito, and the Chikungunya virus was spread to over 200 people.’
He continued: ‘We need to isolate infected people and ensure that if they have the disease they don’t leave their homes to try and ensure they don’t pass to disease to a Tiger Mosquito.
‘It’s like a fire: if you put it out straight away it’s no problem, if not it can become a huge blaze.’
Pregnant women have been warned not to travel to the 22 countries where the infection has been reported, which include nations in Latin America, the Caribbean, Africa and Oceania - but this could cause havoc for the upcoming Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.
Unlike some other international health scares, the Zika virus is not spread person to person and people are only becoming infected after being bitten by mosquitoes. For most people who get infected, the flu-like symptoms will clear up in about a week.
But the specific threat to pregnant women and their foetuses, and the seeming impossibility of avoiding mosquitoes in tropical countries, has given this crisis extra gravity.
Brazil has recorded at least 3,893 microcephaly cases since an unusual spike in the rare condition was noticed in the country's northeast in October. Previously an annual average of 160 cases was the norm.
Moving in: The government, under growing pressure to deal with the crisis, will also hand out repellent to at least 400,000 pregnant women on social welfare
Spreading: Cases of the virus have been discovered in countries across Latin America, in Africa and in Oceania. Pictured, five-month old David Henrique Ferreira, who has microcephaly, after having his bath
Growing: In the last four months, authorities have recorded close to 4,000 cases in Brazil in which the mosquito-borne Zika virus may have led to microcephaly in infants
Terrifying: Fears remain how Brazil will manage to contain the deadly virus, particularly when Rio hosts the Olympics in the summer
Fear: The specific threat to pregnant women and their foetuses, and the seeming impossibility of avoiding mosquitoes in tropical countries, has given the crisis extra gravity
22 COUNTRIES THAT ARE AFFECTED
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued initial travel warnings to pregnant women last week, adding eight more places to the list on Friday.
The warnings now extend to:
Central and South America: Bolivia, Ecuador, Guyana, Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Suriname, Venezuela
Caribbean: Barbados, Saint Martin, Haiti, Martinique, Puerto Rico, Guadeloupe
Africa: Cape Verde
And short of not getting pregnant, there is no foolproof method for avoiding risk.
Mr Castro said last week that the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which carries Zika and also dengue fever and the chikungunya virus, was gaining momentum.
Dr Dipti Patel, director at National Travel Health Network and Centre, warned: 'All travellers, especially pregnant women going to the Americas, should ensure they seek travel health advice from their GP or a travel clinic well in advance of their trip.
'We strongly advise all travellers to avoid mosquito bites and urge pregnant women to consider avoiding travel to areas where Zika outbreaks are currently reported.
'If travel is unavoidable, or they live in areas where Zika is reported, they should take scrupulous insect bite avoidance measures both during daytime and nighttime hours.
'Women who are planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider to assess the risk of infection with Zika and receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures.'
Dr Hilary Kirkbride, travel and migrant health expert at PHE, said: 'The symptoms of Zika are similar to other mosquito-borne infections such as dengue, chikungunya and malaria so laboratory testing is essential for the correct diagnosis.
'If you have recently returned from the Americas, including the Caribbean, and have a fever or flu-like illness, seek medical attention without delay to exclude malaria and mention your travel history.'
The Foreign Office advised Britons to seek advice before travelling anywhere where the virus has been reported in the last year 'particularly if you're pregnant or planning to become pregnant'.
Only a handful of Zika cases had ever been documented before 2013.
Drive: A Brazilian Army soldier makes a note inspecting a home while canvassing a neighborhood in an attempt to eradicate the Zika virus
No cure: Experts estimate that as many as 1.5million people in Brazil could be infected with the Zika virus, which has no cure and spreads through mosquito bites
Disorder: It is thought the Zika virus - which was at first thought to be relatively innocuous - may have arrived in Brazil during the 2014 World Cup by visitors from French Polynesia, where an outbreak had just occurred
Upset: Estafany Perreira (centre) holds her five-month-old nephew David,
Zika freakout: the hoax and the covert op continue
Suppose the actual number of cases of microcephaly (babies born with small heads and brain impairment) are much fewer than reported?
Then all efforts to explain some “extraordinary, unusual, dire, and sudden situation” are misguided, are based on a lie.
Then we would have to backtrack and conceive of what is happening in Brazil in a whole different way.
I was waiting for this one. I’ve been investigating so-called epidemics since 1987. And over and over, I’ve seen health authorities lie about case numbers. Sometimes, they just make up incredible numbers out of thin air—as with Swine Flu, for example. In the fall of 2009, the US Centers for Disease Control estimated there were, get this, 22 million cases in the US.
And that was after Sharyl Attkisson, then a star investigative reporter for CBS News, found out the CDC had actually stopped counting Swine Flu cases. Why did they stop? Because the overwhelming number of blood samples from likely Swine Flu patients sent to labs came back negative for Swine Flu or any flu. So the CDC doubled down and decided to tell a real whopper. That’s an old propaganda trick. Tell a gigantic lie and people will salute it.
How about Zika? Microcephaly (babies with abnormally small heads and brain damage) is supposed to be the result of the Zika virus, which for 60 years has caused, at worst, mild illness.
Now we have a January 27 Associated Press story out of Rio, published in SFGate: “270 of 4,180 suspected microcephaly cases confirmed.”
That’s called a clue, in case you’re wondering. Of the previously touted 4,180 cases of microcephaly in Brazil, the actual number of confirmed cases is, well, only 270.
Of course, this won’t stop the press from building up fear about the dreaded virus, and Brazilian soldiers will still be going door to door handing out toxic mosquito sprays, and drug companies will continue to race forward to develop a vaccine for Zika—because The Machine is in gear and moving. Damn the torpedoes and the facts.
Now let’s investigate the possible connection between Zika and Microcephaly.
“Okay, boys, here’s what we do. We’ve got this old virus called Zika. It’s been around for 60 years that we know of. It never caused anything serious. A real dud. But we’ve got to explain all these babies born with small heads and brain damage. We’ve got to protect some important people and shield them from heavy blame. So let’s bring back Zika. Even though very few mothers who give birth to babies with defects have the dud-virus, we can finesse that. People are idiots. So let’s build up Zika into a terrifying killer. Get our PR folks moving. Spread some money around. You know, the usual. And we make out on the back-end with a Zika vaccine.”
None of those candidates is the Zika virus, which has a history of creating only minor illness, at worst. My top six may, indeed, be working together to bring about disastrous consequences.
In this article, I’ll focus on one candidate, the genetically-engineered (GE) mosquitoes which have already been released in Brazil, with the aim of decimating the population of mosquitoes that carry dengue fever, Zika, yellow fever, and chikungunya.
First of all, and ominously, the GE mosquitoes were released in the same area of Brazil (Juazeiro) where now most of the birth defects are being reported. This is called a clue. But who is deeply investigating it? No one in official circles.
This is akin to saying, “Well, we just toured the war-torn city. Of course, last week we bombed it, but that couldn’t possibly account for the destruction.”
The company releasing the GE mosquitoes, Oxitec, has grants for their experiments from Bill Gates—never a good sign.
Oxitec is owned by Intrexon, which is owned by billionaire Randal J Kirk. The Hoovers profile of Intrexon, offers this:
One man’s frankenfood is another man’s solution to world hunger. Intrexon is developing technology that uses synthetic biology, or biological engineering, to make advances in everything from pharmaceuticals to genetically modified plants and animals. The company has development agreements with AquaBounty (genetically modified salmon…)
Genetically modified animals. Just what we need. What could go wrong? And the highly controversial GE salmon is under attack for the usual reason: the omission of actual science that proves this fish is safe for consumption and won’t wreak havoc in the aqua-environment.
Intrexon employs the famous Dr. Sam Broder as its Senior Vice-President, Health Sector. For six years, Broder was the Director of the US National Cancer Institute. He was instrumental in bringing the AIDS drug, AZT, to market. This previously failed chemotherapy drug was taken off the shelf and subjected to a scandal-ridden clinical trial, which resulted in FDA approval. AZT is extremely toxic. It prevents human cells from replicating. It suppresses the immune system—the very system AIDS is supposed to be attacking. Other than that, no problem.
On November 28, 2011, Intrexon Chairman Randal Kirk welcomed two new executives to the company’s board of directors: Robert B. Shapiro and Jeffrey B. Kindler. Shapiro was the former CEO of Monsanto and NutraSweet (aspartame). Kindler was the former CEO of drug giant Pfizer and Executive VP and General Counsel of McDonald’s. If those boys don’t inspire trust, who could? Cancer-causing Roundup, brain-attacking aspartame, Bextra ($2.3 billion fine paid out), and check-your-colon-at-the-door Big Macs. If they release a genetically-engineered mosquito, you know it’s safe—and delicious, too.
Intrexon’s GE male-mosquito “triumph” is based on the following: the male will mate with female mosquitoes that carry Zika; the females will give birth, but their offspring won’t advance past the larval stage. Thus, the Zika-carrying insect population will decline drastically. However, no long-term safety studies have been done. This is a grand insect and human experiment.
“Let’s try it and see what happens. What possible problems could develop? How could a genetically-engineered mosquito possibly affect humans in an adverse way? Nonsense. Everything’s fine.”
Is it? In her excellent Activist Post article (1/28), “Zika Outbreak Epicenter…”, Claire Bernish probes deeper into the “science.” She uncovers a little-known antibiotic connection and rips a gaping hole in the bland assurance that all is well. I strongly recommend reading her piece. I’ll cobble together an excerpt:
Those genetically-modified mosquitoes work to control wild, potentially disease-carrying populations in a very specific manner. Only the male [GE] modified Aedes mosquitoes are supposed to be released into the wild — as they will mate with their unaltered female counterparts. Once offspring are produced, the [GE] modified, scientific facet is supposed to ‘kick in’ and kill that larvae before it reaches breeding age — if tetracycline [antibiotic] is not present during [the larvae’s] development. But there is a problem. (emphasis added)
According to an unclassified document from the Trade and Agriculture Directorate Committee for Agriculture dated February 2015, Brazil is the third largest in ‘global antimicrobial consumption in food animal production’ — meaning, Brazil is third in the world for its use of tetracycline [antibiotics] in its food animals. As a study by the American Society of Agronomy, et. al., explained, ‘It is estimated that approximately 75% of antibiotics are not absorbed by animals and are excreted in waste.’ One of the antibiotics (or antimicrobials) specifically named in that report for its environmental persistence is tetracycline.
In fact, as a confidential internal Oxitec document divulged in 2012, that survival rate [of offspring] could be as high as 15% — even with low levels of tetracycline present. ‘Even small amounts of tetracycline can repress’ the engineered lethality. Indeed, that 15% survival rate was described by Oxitec…
The bottom line? The excreted tetracycline-laden waste of farm animals makes its way to the mosquito breeding grounds. The GE male mosquito mates with the female, and far more offspring survive than were planned — because the offspring, in their larvae stage, are feeding on tetracycline-tainted food and water. What qualities do these survivors carry? They are the children of a natural insect and a GE insect. They bite humans. They are unknowns. In the history of the planet, they’ve never existed before. Of course, we’re told there is no problem. We’re told that scientists have everything under control. If you buy that on face value, I have condos for sale on Jupiter.
And again, there is this nagging factor: the surge in horrendous birth defects in Brazil is happening in the same area where the GE mosquitoes were released, and thus where some of their natural-GE-hybrid offspring may have survived.
Don’t worry, be happy. They’re just tinkering with genes. They didn’t need to do safety studies. They have a theory. The theory must be correct. And it’s only mosquitoes, after all. Little things. They bite a person’s neck, the person swats them with his hand. End of story.
Unless it isn’t.
Thank you, Oxitec. Thank you, Bill Gates. Thank you, Intrexon. Thank you, Randal Kirk. Thank you, Sam Broder.
Thus far in this article, I haven’t mentioned the word conspiracy once. But if you want to go there, what about this? Who can say, with authority, what these male genetically-engineered mosquitoes are equipped to carry? Who can say with assurance he knows all the qualities and factors and substances in the bodies of these insects?
It’s very much like looking at the faint trail of a very high-flying, high-tech, up-to-the-minute military jet. Do you know everything that’s on board? Do you know, beyond listed specs, what that plane is actually designed to be capable of?
Oh, and by the way, researchers are now “rushing” to develop a vaccine for Zika. You know, Zika, the virus that doesn’t cause anything.
Argentina Scrambles to Fight
Biggest Plague of Locusts in 60
The provincial authorities and Senasa, the government’s agricultural inspection agency, have intensified their efforts to exterminate swarms of the insects in the dry forests of northern Argentina. But their attempts might not be enough to prevent the locusts from developing into a flying throng in the coming days — when they will then threaten to devour crops like sunflowers and cotton, and grasslands for cattle grazing.
“It’s the worst explosion in the last 60 years,” Diego Quiroga, the agriculture agency’s chief of vegetative protection, said in a telephone interview. “It’s impossible to eradicate; the plague has already established itself. We’re just acting to make sure it’s the smallest it can be and does the least damage possible.”
Small pockets of locusts, which first appeared last June, at the start of winter in the Southern Hemisphere, have spread across an area of northern Argentina about the size of Delaware. The mild and rainy winter here created comfortable breeding conditions for the locusts; their surge outpaced the ability of the authorities to control the spread of the insects.Photo
Farmers last year reported locust clouds that were more than four miles long and nearly two miles high, said Juan Pablo Karnatz, a representative for the Province of Santiago del Estero at the Rural Confederations of Argentina, which represents more than 100,000 farmers here.
In the past five years, Senasa, the agricultural agency, has seen an increase in the numbers of insects that can destroy crops — like fruit flies that threaten citrus groves — as a result of warmer, wetter winters.
Mr. Quiroga pointed to a warning last November by the Food and Agriculture Organization, a United Nations agency, which said climate change would contribute to locust plagues in Africa. “There is clearly an impact in our country, too,” he said. “We are definitely being affected.”
Many farmers here blame the coming plague on the previous government of former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, saying officials failed to take last year’s warnings seriously enough. There is no study yet that shows climate change has led to the increase in locust populations, said Paola Carrizo, a professor of agronomy at the University of Buenos Aires, explaining that a more likely cause was insufficient pest control by Senasa.
The specter of locusts haunts Argentina’s farmers, who for almost 200 years have resorted to rustic methods like bonfires to drive away menacing swarms. A government program to combat locusts, set up in 1891 under President Carlos Pellegrini, is believed to be one of Argentina’s oldest agricultural policies.
After years relatively free from locusts, farmers are again bracing themselves for the worst. Senasa has set up a hotline to report sightings of the insects. And in meetings this month to coordinate a response to the plague, officials in Argentina have been emphasizing the havoc locusts can wreak by digging out sepia-toned photographs of past plagues.
Fumigators equipped with backpack sprayers intensified their efforts last week. They have extinguished pockets of young locusts, which cannot yet fly, only hop, in 66 locations in northern provinces of Argentina. The dry forests there are largely impenetrable, however, so it is unclear how many other pockets have gone undiscovered.
In 10 days, the locusts are expected to grow to about two inches and mature into voracious flying swarms in search of food. Once that happens, combating the plague would be a more complex operation, Mr. Quiroga said, requiring fumigating aircraft to poison the swarms.
“We don’t know exactly where we’re at,” said Mr. Karnatz, the farmers’ representative, who has been involved in coordinating a response to the plague. “We may have contained some pockets, but it’s not a definitive victory.”
He warned, “If they fly, it could be disastrous