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All the buzazbout
Zika
There isn’t a front page in the America’s that isn’t running a big story about Aedes aegypti, the vile mosquito from the Nile that has found its way to Latin America and is responsible for the ZIKA virus. Respected infectious disease researchers are crediting ZIKA as the cause of infant microcephaly (an abnormally small head at birth which compromises congnitive function) in parts of Brazil.
LOST IN THE SUDDEN PANIC andburiedinthe media mania is the universally accepted medical opinion those most ‘at risk’ are the unborn infants of women in their first trimester of pregnancy. Most everyone else that is bitten by these bugs won’t even know it.
That is not to say that these mosquitoes aren’t a serious pest. They also carry dengue, yellow fever, and chikungunya and malaria. Those diseases kill lots of people. In fact, during the Spanish-American war, U.S. troops suffered more casualties from yellow fever caused by the Aedes aegypti than from enemy fire.
Another ignored truth is the Aedes aegypti has been a nuisance species in the United States for centuries. They thrive in urban South Florida, and epidemiologists predict that the nasty little critter will make its way north and west in large numbers.The worry is millions of these critters will be crossing our Mexican border and we’ll be nose to probocis with this terrible brand of mosquito in Beverly Hills and Fresno. But ZIKA is the buzz word right now.
Despite their government declaring all out war on the little blood suckers, conspiracy theorists in Brazil are hypothesizing the “true” causes of microcephaly outbreaks (3,983 suspected cases and 508 confirmed) range from expired vaccines to the use of larvacide or transgenic mosquitoes. Fuel to these theories is the fact that no known cases of infant microcephaly have been reported in Colombia or Venezuela. Fox News hasn’t yet made the connection to Barack Obama, but Rush Limbaugh has his team working on it.
More truth is that, though all 5,000 counties in Brazil have reported Aedes aegypti, the bug is rarely found in the tannic water that comprises virtually all of the Rio Negro basin (including the Rio Marié). It is not found at all in high elevations, like the Bolivian highlands where Tsimane is located.
So what do we do? My mom, if she was still alive, would tell pregnant women (1st trimester), or women who might get pregnant, to stay the hell out of Brazil. She’d tell me to use bug spray (DEET) along with my sunscreen, wear long-sleeved shirts, and wear pants, not shorts. “And be sure to wear a hat, Sweety!”
Here’swhattheCDC,CenterforDiseaseControl, has to say (March 3rd, 2016) about ZIKA:
• Most people infected with Zika virus won’t even know they have the disease because they won’t have any symptoms.
• The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis (red eyes), and perhaps muscle pain and headache.
• The incubation period is a few days.
• The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week after being bitten by an infected mosquito.
• People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and very rarely die of Zika.
• Many people might not even realize they have been infected.
• Once a person has been infected, he or she is likely to be protected from future infections.
• There is no vaccine to prevent Zika.
• There is no medicine to treat infections.
Here’s exactly what they tell you to do:
• Get plenty of rest.
• Drink fluids to prevent dehydration.
• Take acetaminophen, not Ibuprofen or aspirin for relief. • Use bug spray (DEET) and cover up.
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