Brazil’s Ministry of Health released its latest data on the “outbreak” of microcephaly in that nation. From October through March 19, 2016, the Ministry has received 6,671 reports of children born with microcephaly. Nearly 36 percent of those cases have been investigated.
The onslaught of Zika stories in the media continues while the science lags. Searching “Zika” on Google News produces 86,500,000 results. Despite the coverage, there are still no firm estimates of the number of Zika viral illnesses as well as other key indices. Brazil continues to report an outbreak of microcephaly but the normal incidence of that birth defect has not yet been established.
The conservative media have been full of similar statements for several years. Stories have quoted anonymous sources and rumors. The spokesmen for the union of Border Patrol officers have been especially good about hurling accusations of disease at the illegal immigrants surging across our border.
Those individuals may cause a great many problems in the United States but the data does not suggest that they are bringing diseases to our shores in abnormal numbers. Disease comes to the United States by airplane these days.
It isn’t the largest mosquito, but today it caused the World Health Organization to declare an international public health emergency. Aedes aegypti, the Yellow Fever mosquito, carries and transmits the Zika virus and Zika viral illnesses are being blamed for large numbers of microcephaly cases in Brazil. The illness is also being blamed for increased numbers of cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome in countries such as Columbia and El Salvador.
Much of what we know about the Zika virus is probably subject to change over the next year or two, just as the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has changed what we know about that illness. The information in this article is what is known by medical and public health authorities at this time. Links are included to provide sourcing and further information.