One of the biggest unknowns about Zika viral illnesses is the number of patients who contract the disease but have a sub-clinical or asymptomatic illness. The incidence of asymptomatic Zika is critical to understanding how the illness is spread. Can an asymptomatic patient pass the virus to another person through sex? Can an asymptomatic patient infect a mosquito that bites him and infect the mosquito enough that the mosquito can transmit the virus to another human?
The headlines are shocking. The New York Times states “Zika Cases in Puerto Rico Are Skyrocketing.” Most other media outlets follow with similar ledes. Is it true? Or, is it just more lies, damn lies and statistics?
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ought to be ashamed. It is incapable of gathering data in a timely manner, and its failures with Zika viral illnesses is yet another case in point. The latest data on “Pregnant Women with Any Lab Evidence of Zika Virus Infection” as I write this is from July 14. Today is 13 days later.
The Lancet has just released online an important study about the occurrence of microcephaly in Brazil and its relationship to maternal Zika viral illnesses. “Congenital Zika virus syndrome in Brazil: a case series of the first 1501 live births with complete investigation”  presents the first analysis of the medical records and associated data from the microcephaly reports investigated by the Brazilian Ministry of Health. The data is a significant addition to what is known about the situation in Brazil. The study’s authors, however, raise some questions and their conclusions may not be well supported by their data.
The Harvard Public Health Review has published a piece titled “Off the Podium: Why Public Health Concerns for Global Spread of Zika Virus Means That Rio de Janeiro’s 2016 Olympic Games Must Not Proceed.” The author is Amir Attaran, DPhil, LLB, MS. Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa. I believe he is incorrect and the facts bolster that belief. The Rio Olympics should not be cancelled due to any risk from Zika.