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Medicine

Zika Virus Outbreak Prompts CDC To Expand Travel Advisory (washingtonpost.com) 83

turkeydance writes: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is asking pregnant women to avoid 22 countries that have seen outbreaks of the Zika virus. That's up eight from just yesterday. Disturbingly, the mosquito-borne virus, which may be causing abnormally small heads in newborns, has also been linked to yet another debilitating disease. The Zika virus has been spreading rapidly over the past several months, most prominently in Brazil. Its spread has been associated with a dramatic increase in microcephaly, a rare condition in which babies are born with abnormally small heads.
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Zika Virus Outbreak Prompts CDC To Expand Travel Advisory

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  • by Nemyst ( 1383049 ) on Friday January 22, 2016 @08:42PM (#51354677) Homepage
    ... which isn't mentioned in the summary. It's apparently the Guillain-Barre syndrome [wikipedia.org].
    • by raymorris ( 2726007 ) on Friday January 22, 2016 @10:42PM (#51355121) Journal

      Thank you for that. So Guillain-Barre and microcephaly (abnormally small small heads), not to be confused with bureaucracy (abnormally small brains).

    • by hjf ( 703092 ) on Friday January 22, 2016 @11:12PM (#51355217) Homepage

      I'm from the affected area. North-east Argentina, near Paraguay. There have been hundreds of cases of Dengue Fever in the past week. All of this is happening because of the floodings, caused by excessive rainfall by El Niño. Temperatures have been extremely high too (37C at my city today).

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I'm from the affected area. North-east Argentina, near Paraguay. There have been hundreds of cases of Dengue Fever in the past week. All of this is happening because of the floodings, caused by excessive rainfall by El Niño. Temperatures have been extremely high too (37C at my city today).

        My fellow neighbor. There's reason to believe [Brazilian experts say] that the Zika virus was introduced in the Americas on the occasion of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. I'm on the same latitude as you are, suffering the same problems [except with unseasonably cool summer [which is nice]. Regards.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    want to cut funding for the CDC.

  • Nice, editors.

    which may be causing abnormally small heads in newborns,

    a rare condition in which babies are born with abnormally small heads.

    This message messaged to you by the redundant department of redundancy department.

  • I was in the Kona, HI airport yesterday and someone had a mosquito net over his head. It wasn't to protect him from mosquitoes, it was to protect the local mosquitoes from him. I believe he had just been released from a hospital after arriving from South America.

  • by Johnny Loves Linux ( 1147635 ) on Friday January 22, 2016 @10:23PM (#51355031)

    1. The Zika virus has been Africa and Southeast Asia since forever.

    2. They don't seem to have microcephalic cases like Brazil has.

    3. The virus was introduced into Brazil sometime around 2015.

    4. 2015 Brazil sees a 10x increase in microcephalic cases.

    So far that seems compelling that Zika is causing the cases. But why aren't we seeing the same thing in Africa or Asia? It's not like the Zika virus in Brazil has had thousands of years to mutate into a version that causes microcephaly, but not the original strain in Africa and Southeast Asia. It's the same virus.

    It's not like the people in Brazil don't have the same "immunity" that people in Africa and Southeast Asian people have -- a large percentage of the Brazilian people *have* West African ancestors where the Zika virus has been found.

    Here's an alternate hypothesis: some kind of chemical has been introduced into Brazil in 2015 that's causing the birth defects. Maybe a pesticide that hasn't been properly tested, or a morning sickness drug that wasn't tested.

    Citations:

    For pesticides and birth defects: http://www.counterpunch.org/20... [counterpunch.org] http://americanpregnancy.org/p... [americanpregnancy.org] and http://www.beyondpesticides.or... [beyondpesticides.org]

    Pesticides and microcephaly: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm... [nih.gov] and http://www.gmls.eu/beitraege/1... [www.gmls.eu]

    For morning sickness drugs: http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/... [aboutkidshealth.ca]

    • What would happen if Malaria or Yellow Fever is introduced in all the United States at once?

      Each country has endemic and epidemic diseases. Would be interesting to know the current statistics for children with problems in these African countries. The real problem here is that no one of our countries (I live in Costa Rica), was prepared to deal with this "foreign" disease. We have other issues to worry about, some even don't exist in Africa, but Zika was something rare for us and our emergency and heal
      • Wrong, not any place that have mosquitoes have this problem because not all mosquitoes can carry the virus, the Zica uses the same vector as the "chikungunya" virus the Aedes albopictus, not original from this hemisphere. It lives below 1700 or so meters below sea level only.

        The drought have been so strong here that I have not seen mosquitoes in a while and maybe thats helping to keep the mosquito in low numbers, just today it rained for the first time in 2 months, in the friggin Andean heights, but that
    • by Waffle Iron ( 339739 ) on Friday January 22, 2016 @10:56PM (#51355167)

      Well, Influenza has a variety of strains, some of which cause illnesses that are little worse than a head cold, and others that can be almost as bad as Ebola. Maybe Zika also has variations.

    • I think it would be helpful if they medical people in the affected countries would take statistics on how many children were born to woman known to be infected with Zika and keep track of how many were babies were born with microcephaly vs. those who were not. If Zika really is involved then the ratio

      #microcephaly & zika/ #no microcephaly & zika should be significantly different than the ratio #microcephaly & no Zika/#no microcephaly & no Zika.

      I've seen in the news items of women who were t

      • by Yaztromo ( 655250 ) on Saturday January 23, 2016 @05:50AM (#51356149) Homepage Journal

        I've seen in the news items of women who were tested for Zika after microcephaly, but that's just confirmation basis (sic).

        It's incomplete data, but it isn't confirmation bias.

        If the researchers were taking tests of women who gave birth to microcephalic babies, and Zika was not the cause, you'd expect that the women being tested would have some closer-to-even distribution between Zika infected and non-Zika infected, given a suitable sample size.

        Now if the testing were done the other way around (checked for microcephaly only in women known to have had the Zika virus), then you'd potentially have confirmation bias if the results appeared to show a correlation. The problem you'd run into here is that without checking against the birth results of mothers who didn't have Zika, you wouldn't know if there were some other cause for the microcephaly.

        This of it this way. If you went to a village and rounded up every mother who had a microcephalic baby, and you found that 99+% of them had Zika, there is no confirmation bias. You'd still want to determine how many other mothers infected with Zika had non-microcephalic babies, and you'd further need to determine when during pregnancy the Zika infection began (as it's possible that microcephaly only occurs if caught at or before a certain point of gestation), but the result would point to possible avenues for research.

        If, however, you rounded up all of the women who had Zika during their pregnancy, and found that 80% of them had microcephalic babies and stopped there, then you'd have a case of confirmation bias. It could turn out that 80% of non-Zika infected mothers also had microcephalic babies. That is confirmation bias. What you called "confirmation bias" is good research methods. It's certainly not the end of the research, but correlations are not confirmation biases in and of themselves.

        Yaz

        • Or women having Zika took a different drug in Brazil than in Africa and the drug is causing the microcephaly...
    • by Yaztromo ( 655250 ) on Saturday January 23, 2016 @05:32AM (#51356091) Homepage Journal

      But why aren't we seeing the same thing in Africa or Asia? It's not like the Zika virus in Brazil has had thousands of years to mutate into a version that causes microcephaly, but not the original strain in Africa and Southeast Asia. It's the same virus.

      First off, it doesn't take a thousand years for a virus to mutate. Influenza mutates on a yearly basis, for example. And as a general rule, any organism that finds itself in a different environment faces different selective pressures, which may influence the mutation rate, or at the very least, the likelihood of a mutation being more fit for the environment than the pre-mutated strain.

      If the cause were due to chemicals, you should see an equal number of non-Zika infected mothers giving birth to children with microcephaly. That doesn't seem to be happening from what I've read. There is no data pointing towards chemicals being involved in any manner. Obviously more diagnosis and testing is needed -- as yet we don't know whether or not Zika has mutated in South America, how the virus is passing the placental barrier, or the exact action which is causing the microcephaly once infected. Wild guesses won't get us closer to a solution to these outstanding questions.

      Yaz

    • 1. The Zika virus has been Africa and Southeast Asia since forever.

      2. They don't seem to have microcephalic cases like Brazil has.

      As I am a citizen of an African country, I wish to disagree and posit an alternative theory. I think that the virus mutated in the recent past. Before that, it only affected the brains and not the more exterior and visible tissue. It has now mutated to affect larger areas in that region of the body.

      Source: a majority of politicians in my country and neighboring countries, born anywhere in the past 3 decades and further back. Although, to be sure, one would need to research the travels of all these peoples'

    • It's not like the people in Brazil don't have the same "immunity" that people in Africa and Southeast Asian people have -- a large percentage of the Brazilian people *have* West African ancestors where the Zika virus has been found.

      I doubt that having the same ancestors would make them immune. Possible reason could be that since Africans and South East Asians had been living w/ it all the while, their immunity developed, whereas Zika only got to Brazil last year. So people would need time to develop it.

    • Could be, but that would not explain why the same "colateral damage" is present in sufferers from neighboring countries. It does not take millions of years for a virus to mutate either.
    • Healthcare, and medical research is more developed and advanced than what most African countries have.

      It might have been happening all this time in Africa, and went unnoticed all this time because nobody cared enough to study it.

    • Is this happen in many tropical country ? As you mention it in Africa and Southeast Asia. In tropical country, there are many illness caused by mosquito, like Malaria, Dengue Fever, Chikunguya. Is this Zika similiar to that ?
  • by wwalker ( 159341 )

    Holy Batman, what a mess of a summary! It must be linked to yet another debilitating but apparently not so rare condition in which Slashdot editors are born with abnormally small heads.

  • Born with abnormally small heads?
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Children of Men takes place in 2027. Just sayin'.

Somebody ought to cross ball point pens with coat hangers so that the pens will multiply instead of disappear.

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