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 Post subject: Zika virus
PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, '16, 4:17 pm 
2016 isn't getting started off very well for public health, between Flint and Sebring's lead crisis and the spreading Zika virus.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/29/healt ... .html?_r=0

The virus is carried by mosquitos in the Aedes genus, which also transmit other tropical diseases like dengue, yellow fever, chikungunya and others. This particular virus seems to have exploded in parts of South America, and it has been implicated as the cause of a (formally) rare birth defect, microcephaly, in which infants have small heads and brains, and as a result, their neurological development is stunted and results in learning and behavioral disabilities for life. It's gotten so bad that some South American countries are advising women to not get pregnant, and other countries are issuing travel advisories for women of child-bearing age. The virus seems to be asymptomatic in adults, but there have been cases in which infected adults undergo syndrome in which the immune system starts attacking the nervous system and causes paralysis and/or death. I really do wonder what's going on there.

And now the World Health Organization is warning that this virus could very easily spread throughout the Americas and indeed the world, as the Aedes genus of mosquitos is worldwide and global travel could easily take it everywhere, where mosquitos could bite an infected individual and carry it to other people.


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 Post subject: Re: Zika virus
PostPosted: Mon Feb 1, '16, 5:36 pm 
This is kind of scary. I really didn't think too much about it when I first heard about it on the news weeks ago, thinking it was far, far away from our country. However, a couple days ago I heard that now they think there might be several cases here in the United States, even in my own home state. The suspected cases have recently traveled from Africa to America, I heard. Haven't heard much about it over the weekend, but certainly will keep my eyes and ears open regarding this new virus, especially the suspected case(s) close to where I live. Seems it is always something these days. Some new virus or other sickness that the world needs to stay informed about, and a lot of antibiotics and other medicines are just not working any more.


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 Post subject: Re: Zika virus
PostPosted: Mon Feb 1, '16, 6:21 pm 
Well, antibiotics not working well anymore is a somewhat separate issue - Zika is a virus, and antibiotics never have and never will do anything to combat viruses. In fact, people using (often demanding them from their doctors) them when they have viral illnesses like the flu or cold is a contributing factor to increasing antibiotic resistance among bacteria. When we don't use them properly, it contributes to bacteria evolving resistance to them. I think the main cause of that is their (mis)use in agriculture to stimulate growth, but misuse by humans, whether for non-bacterial infections or not taking a full course as prescribed when there is a bacterial infection, also contribute. But a post-antibiotic era may not be as far away as we'd like.

If you have flu, don't take an antibiotic. It won't help, placebo effect notwithstanding, and the flu is one of those illnesses that for MOST people, while acutely severe, will resolve on its own given time.

But yeah, it doesn't matter how far away an infectious disease may be. In our interconnected world, these things spread easily because of air and marine travel. Microorganisms are much hardier than people want to give them credit for, and they do not care at all about national boundaries. There is a confirmed case in Boston now, and unsurprisingly, that person recently was traveling in South America where this thing has exploded.

Personally, I find Zika more concerning than Ebola, because it spreads much more easily and it seems to be mutating more virulence.


Last edited by Wolf Bird on Mon Feb 1, '16, 6:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Zika virus
PostPosted: Wed Feb 3, '16, 8:31 pm 
The CDC has confirmed a case of the Zika virus being transmitted through sexual contact in Texas.

http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/Zika-V ... 95911.html


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 Post subject: Re: Zika virus
PostPosted: Wed Feb 3, '16, 9:49 pm 
Two people in my country have it...

First Ebola, and now this.


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 Post subject: Re: Zika virus
PostPosted: Thu Feb 4, '16, 5:39 pm 
I personally find Zika more worrisome than Ebola, at least in its potential to become widespread. The latter was primarily a threat only to health care workers (in developed countries, anyway) as it could only spread via direct bodily fluid contact. Not something for a lot of people to be concerned about, hype (and way pointless security measures) notwithstanding. Zika, on the other hand, spreads a lot more easily (via mosquitos), and while it's not as graphically virulent since it doesn't have that whole hemorrhagic fever thing, it is a virus and it seems to be showing that it's pretty good at mutating new things.


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 Post subject: Re: Zika virus
PostPosted: Tue Mar 8, '16, 12:09 pm 
Being from the country where the Zika epidemic is most serious, I am rather sad to see that the problem is not being addressed as it should. They just tell people to cooperate with eliminating places where mosquitos may breed their larvae, as they have always done during the anual Dengue Fever outbreaks that never cease to happen, and nothing more.


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 Post subject: Re: Zika virus
PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, '16, 4:26 pm 
It seems the jury is in on whether Zika is a cause of birth defects like microcephaly, rather than just a correlation. Zika is the cause of birth defects, as the virus can apparently enter a developing fetus's brain and kill neurons, which if it doesn't cause a miscarriage, stunts brain development and causes microcephaly and lifelong disability.

http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/zika-v ... ts-n555571

It may also cause other birth defects.


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 Post subject: Re: Zika virus
PostPosted: Thu May 12, '16, 2:32 pm 
And today I found another article on how Zika virus might cause birth defects from Guardian Science. It was an animal study done on mice, but it still may tell us something about how the virus damages a developing embryo's nervous system in the womb.

https://www.theguardian.com/science/neu ... t-evidence


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 Post subject: Re: Zika virus
PostPosted: Wed May 18, '16, 1:42 am 
Saw this article today about a bill in the USA to fight against the Zika virus. Of course they want over a billion dollars to help in the fight.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/poli ... /84492008/

I absolutely think we need something to help against this awful virus, if there is anything. And, if it costs a whole lot of money, so be it. It will be money well spent as far as I am concerned.

However, it just amazes me that politicians are always ready to spend billions and billions of dollars to fight something like this. Why can't we also spend billions and billions of dollars to help end the homeless problem so that no child or senior or any such person will be homeless and have to sleep on the streets or wherever? Why can't we also spend billions and billions of dollars to help our veterans that fought for our country and may need our help now but can't get it for whatever reason? Why can't we spend billions and billions of dollars to help fund the Social Security program for seniors and others who have worked all their lives and paid into the fund along the way so that it would be there for them when they are no longer able to work instead of saying it just won't be there?

Why?

And, sorry if I got off topic a little bit.


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