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Zika: 'Omen' for a Warming Planet?


Zika: 'Omen' for a Warming Planet?

Andrea Germanos, staff writer

A number of scientists are saying the spread of the Zika virus outbreak, which is now gripping Brazil and other parts of the Americas, may have been helped by climate change—and may offer a sign of the kind of public health impacts to come.


The media seeks the least complex common denominator and tries to simplify everything into easy to grasp sound bites. The fact is that as the climate changes humanity and the biosphere will be meeting shock and awe daily. People talk of climate change and imagine flooded beachfront property and no snow in winter but as this article reminds us ... we face tropical diseases outside the tropics and pandemics that spread with the speed of jet planes... plant diseases that may frightfully affect the food supply. We don't know by what nor when and whenever nor who will get hit next and again and again.

Maybe it might help convince the deniers to refer to global warming in terms of spreading disease... because that is what is being foretold by the ... science... omens be damned!


In 2010, glyphosate was linked to microcephaly in frog embryos and in chicken embryos. Glyphosate builds up in human beings over a lifetime. Flat areas where mosquitoes thrive are typically prime agricultural areas or urban areas. Brazil may be a bit lax (or wildly lax) in its policing of glyphosate use.

Next, Brazil just ran a big program to vaccinate pregnant women with the Tdap vaccine, for pertussis prevention. The Tdap vaccine has never been tested on human fetuses before. It's officially for kids 11 years old or older.

It's possible that the Zika virus only causes microcephaly when it is contracted in conjunction with glyphosate buildup in the mother, and/or with exposure to the Tdap vaccine. If this is true, we're likely to discover that reports of microcephaly were rare in other populations where the Zika virus has been endemic. So far, no such reports have come up.

I wrote my senator early on in the Ebola epidemic because I could see that it could have been serious for U.S. interests. I'm likely to write him again about Zika, telling him to ignore this one.


Um... you forgot to add speed of transmission via a global economy. Big difference that. Our ass kicking happens instantly (virtually) whereas theirs was relatively local in the past.

I think people will be so shocked at how stuff keeps on worsening. I sometimes think of it like what happened to New Orleans after the flood waters drained. People were expecting to go back to their homes and rebuild but instead they encountered mold. That kind of thing is in the future ... that extra unexpected thing that follows upon disaster. There are so many people now that we have forever messed up the natural systems that protected us... and for that we will pay big time.

We cause diseases that kill off the bats and then we worry about the threat from mosquitos. We acidify the oceans and worry about deadly jellyfish everywhere. We take by catches wastefully and then worry about plummeting fish catches. We destroy honeybees and pollinators and worry about crops.

We have ignored that we must function in our natural environment and destroy parts of it without reckoning but the end result is that when it breaks down beyond repair... we will have destroyed what sustained us.

We are destroying our own habitat... a gloriously unwise act that will demand a reckoning that we cannot pay.

Pity the young because they will have endless videos and statistics of just how bountiful the Earth really was for us... and how much of that bounty we destroyed for them.


There's a fundamental flaw in your "Church of Technological Optimism" thread of logic:

It is precisely our "godlike capabilities" - "We, today... are so much more collectively capable... we would be gods to them" - that are dis-integrating the ecology.

What you frame as our great advantage, is precisely our great disaster.


Global warming my foot. This is merely a broadstreet pump type water pollution issue.
Outbreak may be caused by mosquito larvicide in drinking water intended to improve the upcoming Olympic Games in Brazil. The timing and geographic coincidence is strong. Read this

I get tired of everything being attributed to global warming. Best I can tell the microcephalic cases are Brazilian and not from another country that hosts the same vector mosquito. Can't you just see some government official making a trade off...a few cases of microcephalic versus way fewer Mosquitos. Global warming is the catch phrase of sheeple. Global warming is the cause of and solution to all life's problems...(Homer).


What scientists say of Global Warming echoes on and on -- "there is no way to say how this will all compound."

One of the things that was very much feared with the AIDS virus was that EVENTUALLY it could be carried by mosquitos.

Now Zika.


Patentling viruses is 'normal' as they may be used to make vaccines.

The unusual angle of this story is that Oxytech released sterile male genetically modified mosquitos in Brazil & Columbia over a year ago to combat Dengue & Zikka.

The experiment may have gone wrong they say.

I hope it is not another episode of disaster capitalism, as when GW Bush said 1000s of Americans would die from bird flu, while Rumsfeld owned stock in the maker of Tamiflu, which was then sold to the government at significant profit to his portfolio. Or as when Baxter Pharma 'accidentally'(?) sent live H1N1 virus to a Czech lab as seasonal flu vaccine. If the Czech lab had not caught the mistake H1N1 might have been released upon the public at considerable profit to vaccine makers.

Hopefully these are mistakes and not intentional.


Global Warming is just another possibility to add to the list of possibilities. In this case insecticide poisoning and using the PiggyBac transposon to create a GM organism (mosquito).
Also, Aedes aegypti may not be the only mosquito vector of Zika. In the description of A. aegypti as a vector, it is stated that A. aegypti transmits several flaviviruses. Zika, West Nile, dengue, and yellow fever are all flaviviruses that it transmits. My question is can West Nile vectors also transmit Zika? There are 27 mosquito species that can transmit West Nile virus in Washington state. Is Obama's billion plus Zika budget going to look at all the possibilities or avoid pesticides and GMs in deference to corporate interests?


"Political leaders...are underestimating the breadth and complexity associated with the risks to human health that come along with a warmer planet."

Of course they are since each of their mothers was afflicted with a special breed that causes small brains in big heads.


PaulK, Many doctors in Brazil would confirm your hypothesis. "Malformations detected in thousands of children from pregnant women living in areas where the Brazilian state added pyriproxyfen to drinking water is not a coincidence, even though the Ministry of Health places a direct blame on Zika virus for this damage, while trying to ignore its responsibility and ruling out the hypothesis of direct and cumulative chemical damage caused by years of endocrine and immunological disruption of the affected population. Doctors from the Brazilian Association for Collective Health (ABRASCO) demand that urgent epidemiological studies taking into account this causal link be carried out, especially when among 3,893 cases of malformations confirmed until January 20, 2016, 49 children have died and only five of them were confirmed to have been infected with Zika."


The article postulates that global warming caused the spread of Zika virus and microcephaly. Alarmism in place of solid evidence, which is so far lacking.
I can see two other causes that are more likely.
First, Zika was first found in rhesus monkeys, and then a few years later was found to have crossed over into humans. This is believed to be because Africans ate infected rhesus monkeys. So blame population growth and technological advancement that pushed humans into rhesus habitat and enabled humans to catch and eat bush meat and rhesus monkeys.
Second, Zika jumped across the Atlantic Ocean to infect in Brazil. So blame technological advances like the jet plane, and increased prosperity and world trade for enabling that jump across the ocean. Centuries ago Zika would have stayed in the middle of Africa. (Some will gloss all that and blame 'globalization'.) Call that one of the disadvantages of a more interconnected world: we get to share each other's diseases.
Those of you who are fond of the 'Gaia' thesis see vindication in the spread of Zika, Dengue, Chikangunya, etc., and the failure of control methods. And expect to see more of the same. Perhaps you are praying that a disease emerges that particularly afflicts white straight Republican males. ...


It looks like Monsanto is a major contributor to this new problem. From March Against Monsanto's website:

A report from the Argentine doctors’ organisation, Physicians in the Crop-Sprayed Towns, challenges the theory that the Zika virus epidemic in Brazil is the cause of the increase in the birth defect microcephaly among newborns.

The increase in this birth defect, in which the baby is born with an abnormally small head and often has brain damage, was quickly linked to the Zika virus by the Brazilian Ministry of Health. However, according to the Physicians in the Crop-Sprayed Towns, the Ministry failed to recognise that in the area where most sick people live, a chemical larvicide that produces malformations in mosquitoes was introduced into the drinking water supply in 2014. This poison, Pyriproxyfen, is used in a State-controlled programme aimed at eradicating disease-carrying mosquitoes.

The Physicians added that the Pyriproxyfen is manufactured by Sumitomo Chemical, a Japanese “strategic partner” of Monsanto. Pyriproxyfen is a growth inhibitor of mosquito larvae, which alters the development process from larva to pupa to adult, thus generating malformations in developing mosquitoes and killing or disabling them. It acts as an insect juvenile hormone or juvenoid, and has the effect of inhibiting the development of adult insect characteristics (for example, wings and mature external genitalia) and reproductive development. It is an endocrine disruptor and is teratogenic (causes birth defects), according to the Physicians.

The Physicians commented: “Malformations detected in thousands of children from pregnant women living in areas where the Brazilian state added Pyriproxyfen to drinking water are not a coincidence, even though the Ministry of Health places a direct blame on the Zika virus for this damage.”

They also noted that Zika has traditionally been held to be a relatively benign disease that has never before been associated with birth defects, even in areas where it infects 75% of the population.


Why is that conspiracy buffs always skip over the burden of proof for their claims? Maybe there is a link between the spraying from two years ago and this outbreak but where are the factual links that form a theory? To say a larvacide was sprayed may be a piece of the puzzle since it did happen and quite possibly it is a causative factor but the support that buttresses this link are not forthcoming.

Was this larvacide sprayed elsewhere and has this Zika cluster been reported from the other areas where the larvacide has been sprayed? What is the reason for a two year delay in the outbreak of the disease and where is it shown (if not yet proven) a possible pathway that entered the mosquito population and turned virulent?

Conspiracy buffs think nothing of muddying the waters even without proof and then they wonder that when serious questions are asked people simply don't pay attention. Suggesting a conspiracy whenever there is a mystery makes the idea of any conspiracy become a joke before it even gets started.


The same could be said about the zika hypothesis. All the hypothesis need to be tested.


One phrase in the above report should be viewed skeptically:

Deliberately putting Pyriproxyfen into the drinking water is not an efficient way to achieve the purpose of killing mosquito larvae.
-- Out of several possible clarifications, the one that makes the most sense to me is that they sprayed for mosquitoes, that residue from the spraying got into reservoirs that supply drinking water, and that treatment to remove the residue was inadequate, or missing altogether.
-- But we won't know for sure until we ask for clarification.
Contrast with a piece on NPR several days ago, about a small town in Colombia that cultivates mosquito eating fish all around them, and therefore don't have much of a mosquito problem, and no Zika (Dengue, Chikangunya, Yellow Fever, ...) problem.


Why should it be viewed skeptically? What about the statement is untrue? It doesn't claim to be an effective mosquito control. The fact that people drank it over an extended period of time might be a relevant consideration and a reasonable hypothesis to test no?

The zika hypothesis is worthy of just as much skepticism.


Skeptically: Only that part or connotation of the statement that Pyriproxyfen was deliberately introduced into the drinking water.
Skeptically: Makes no claim of truth or untruth, merely reminds us of uncertainty and doubt, and we should not believe it or disbelieve it without more evidence.
-- Added emphasis to 'drinking' on 2-15-2016. Some 'conspiracy theorists out there seem to be saying that authority (tends to be 'workers' party over there) put in the mosquito-icide knowing it risked poor people's lives and were willing to anonymously impose the collateral damage.


That is what I am saying. However in health matters there is the guiding principle that waiting to warn about a potential health risk because it as not yet been proven (linked) conclusively would be amoral. One doesn't wait to sound a potential health warning.

However that is not the situation with conspiracy theories about how the disease may have originated. I watched as how even over the course of a single day that there were several conspiracy theories promulgated and yet none offered any more substantial proof for their claims other than to say >>> this happened two years ago and such and such happened somewhere's else and so forth.

No proof, no research as to whether these claims were substantiated (no back up or online links to any claims etc.)

The incident is now a conspiracy theory but based on what? They used GMO mosquitos? Years before in several other places and countries too.

It is getting to the point that whenever the word conspiracy is suggested that intelligent people tune out. Everything is a conspiracy don't you know?

Any forum that gets taken over by conspiracy buffs ends up becoming irrelevant in the long run. For example... how many conspiracy sites do you visit regularly? Even conspiracy buffs find them absurd after a time. Nothing is ever proven except to feed the infotainment crowd.

None dare call it conspiracy? Hell lots of people do even when there isn't one. It gets boring and I think a psyops standard for muddling an issue and confusing people.

Maybe the only real conspiracies are the ones that nobody talks about because nobody knows about them.


It was deliberately introduced to combat mosquito populations. There is a correlation in terms of timing. Same as with zika. Except with zika the virus had been known without these affects for decades. I'm not sure what your problem is with pointing out all the potential factors.