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yks 6nnetu hing
04-14-2016, 06:57 AM
it's worse than people thought (http://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2016/04/14/zika-highlights-weaknesses-in-public-health/#1c99273913ad). And what they thought was already bad enough... (bolded bits are my emphasis)


Zika Highlights Weaknesses In Public Health

Judy Stone

News about Zika keeps getting worse. First is growing evidence that Zika causes of the serious birth defect, microcephaly (abnormally small brain and skull) and severe mental retardation. The CDC just announced their analysis that concludes Zika is the cause of many recent microcephaly cases, with CDC Director Dr. Thomas R. Frieden declaring, “There is no longer any doubt that Zika causes microcephaly.” He added, “Never before in history has there been a situation where a bite from a mosquito can result in a devastating malformation.” Studies supporting this conclusion were just published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

This past week, Zika infections were also linked with more Guillain-Barre cases, a type of paralysis from an autoimmune reaction. Another neurologic bombshell was that Brazilian scientists have linked Zika with an autoimmune syndrome called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, or ADEM, which causes symptoms mimicking multiple sclerosis. Zika seems to have an affinity for nerve cells (neurotropism), and has been linked with cases of encephalitis (brain inflammation) and myelitis (nerve inflammation) as well.

The final bit of recent bad news is that Zika is likely more often sexually transmitted than was previously believed. What was especially striking is that “semen had 630,914-times more ZIKV RNA in it than serum (316,209 times more than urine) – two weeks later! And in addition to the detection of viral RNA, infectious ZIKV could be isolated using cell culture of the semen sample,” as virologist Ian Mackay explains⁠.

Zika is also again highlighting that politics trumps rational public health policy, especially given the growing range of serious neurologic abnormalities in both the fetus and now adults. Zika shows huge weaknesses in our public health infrastructure and ability to respond to infectious disease threats, as well as illustrating our Congress’ priorities. For example, Maryn McKenna’s post highlights how fragmented the insect control efforts are, and the lack of coordination between jurisdictions. These threats go well beyond Zika, and are urgently problematic for other mosquito and tick-borne diseases as well.

What is Congress’ response? They have refused to fund NIH’s request for emergency funding for Zika, forcing President Obama to divert money from our Ebola response. Their attitude is like Alfred E. Neuman’s “What-Me Worry?” with House Speaker Paul Ryan declaring that the federal government has “plenty of money” to fight Zika. If Congress is worried about waste, perhaps they should start with some pork projects and mismanaged Pentagon projects detailed in this recent report from CIP.

The neglect of public health didn’t just start. West Nile infections, which are also mosquito-borne, boosted attention to public health needs in the early 2000s. Since then, there has been a drop of at least 41% in the number of people doing mosquito surveillance, to see what infections the insects carry. There are seven states that don’t do any surveillance. States have also cut back on testing ticks for Lyme, Babesia, and other emerging infectious diseases.

The 2014 report by the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists⁠ was quite damning, concluding “public health laboratory capacity for proactive surveillance is poor to nonexistent in most states.”

A similar report from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials reports revealed that “since 2008, 20 agencies have cut programs for sexually transmitted diseases (STD), including AIDS, and 15 have cut laboratory services.” We saw how well such cuts worked out in Indiana last year, with its resulting HIV epidemic. And treatment is far more expensive than prevention. At the same time as health department STD clinics have been reduced, the closures of Planned Parenthood clinics have further reduced access to care for many. Only looking between 2008 and 2014, state spending on public health decreased by $1.3 billion. While the economy improved, the spending on this important part of our health infrastructure did not, as public health funding is considered discretionary by most states.

There is little doubt that Zika will soon reach the continental United States. The virus is already hitting Puerto Rico hard (along with large swaths of Latin America and the Caribbean). Building a bigger wall on the border with Mexico won’t keep the problem out. In fact, the CDC revised its estimates of the reach of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which transmits Zika, showing it is likely to extend further than previously thought.

In the U.S., Zika is likely to especially affect urban areas in the coastal states, like Miami, Houston, New Orleans, and Biloxi. As noted before, Zika will disproportionately affect the poor and people of color. Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, explained that these Aedes mosquitoes are likely to be found in crowded urban slums, where people “live in proximity to garbage, including old tires, plastic containers and drainage ditches filled with stagnant water.” Also, since the poor are more likely to live in dilapidated housing without screens (let alone air-conditioning), they are more vulnerable to insect-borne diseases like Zika, dengue, Chikungunya, and Chagas disease (a major cause of heart failure, transmitted by the triatomine “kissing” bug).

Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the NIH, has practically begged Congress for emergency funding, with his pleas falling on deaf ears. “By not supporting the resources needed for an aggressive response to Zika, Congress is playing a very risky game with the health of the American people. A new infectious disease doesn’t care about politics, and Congress should be focused on how to best support the efforts needed to protect health,” concluded Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, Associate Dean, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

We sorely need more funding for research and public health—not just for Zika, but also for Lyme, antimicrobial resistance, and a host of other urgent threats to our country. Because of the likely birth defects, serious neurologic consequences, and likely sexual transmission, Zika funding is especially critically important now. Public health needs should be above partisan politics. Tell Congress to do its job.

So, conspiracy theory time: hands up who think that ZIKA is manmade and somehow "escaped the lab"

Ivhon
04-14-2016, 01:25 PM
Well its right there in the article.

Zika is most likely to affect urban coastal centers. Urban coastal centers vote overwhelmingly democratic. Congress refuses to act. Congress is Republican.

Clear as a bell. Republican Congress has shifted from suppressing the democratic vote to just killing it outright.

See how shiny my hat is?

Southpaw2012
04-14-2016, 02:40 PM
Zika wasn't very well known before now. They've just confirmed that it's as bad as originally thought. If it's truly this bad, Congress will likely act. If not, it'd be wise to look into the reasons why and criticize what is wrong.

Terez
04-14-2016, 05:58 PM
In the U.S., Zika is likely to especially affect urban areas in the coastal states, like Miami, Houston, New Orleans, and Biloxi.
I have no idea why this list includes Biloxi. The other 3 places are legitimate urban areas; Biloxi is probably two tenths the size of the smallest of those three cities (New Orleans). Biloxi and Gulfport (my hometown) are both around 80,000, and they're in the center of the MS coast. The other towns along the coast to the LA and AL borders are smaller.

Davian93
04-14-2016, 09:16 PM
Zika wasn't very well known before now. They've just confirmed that it's as bad as originally thought. If it's truly this bad, Congress will likely act. If not, it'd be wise to look into the reasons why and criticize what is wrong.

Obama should come out in favor of NOT injecting yourself with Zika...so that the GOP can immediately do so to spite him.

yks 6nnetu hing
04-15-2016, 01:55 AM
Obama should come out in favor of NOT injecting yourself with Zika...so that the GOP can immediately do so to spite him.

nah, didn't you read, it spreads easier via semen than serum. Just have Obama say that condoms are the safe option and voila.

ETA: I have this colleague, he's really not dumb or anything, just... well, he's from Rotterdam and he used to be a cop so when he speaks he *sounds* like a load of bricks that's super happy with himself and his abilities. Anyways, he sometimes comes with these conspiracy theories and you want to go "oh, bless you, have you actually read up on this, I mean other than talking to your drunk friends?"