A growing body of health officials in Brazil are doubting that the Zika “virus” is responsible for the rise in birth defects in parts of that country. Zika, along with yellow fever, has been tossed into the family Flaviviruses; the Latin “flavus” meaning yellow. But unlike yellow fever, the vast majority of Zika’s symptoms for the last 70 years have been mild to non-existent. Despite disseminations by the lay and scientific press, there are serious questions whether Zika causes microcephaly at all. If by March, 2016 the Brazilian Ministry of Health reported 2,197 suspected cases of microcephaly, only 11.48% of these were Zika-positive. Zika is widespread throughout Brazil and South and Central America, yet the bulk of microcephaly cases are confined to the costal tip of Northeastern Brazil. Furthermore, despite extensive testing, no known mosquito-borne arbovirus or any other virus has to this point been proven to cause Brazilian microcephaly. While Zika was being portrayed as “the most alarming health crisis to hit Brazil in decades”, tuberculosis and its related mycobacteria were quietly gaining a stranglehold and building an ecologic niche in the very Northeastern region being hit by epidemic microcephaly. Why was this important? With NE Brazilian microcephaly/Zika we are probably dealing with a mosquito-fuelled environmental zoonosis Ã¢ÂÂ a disease that can be transmitted from animals to humans Ã¢ÂÂ such as primates, and to a lesser extent birds (Mycobacterium avium), and rodents (Mycobacterium microti) , all mentioned in the Zika literature. Add to this the penchant of Brazilian’s to illegally capture and keep mycobacterial-laden wild monkeys and exotic birds as pets or for revenue, and you have a potential zoonotic time-bomb ready to explode once the proper vectors presents themselves. Three mosquito vectors have been steadily populating Northeastern Brazil: namely Culex quinquefasciatus, the Aedes aegypti and the Aedes albopictus - all of which have the capacity to transmit viral-like forms of the mycobacteria associated with HIV and through direct laboratory investigation with microcephaly. Perhaps it is time to rethink what’s really behind Brazilian Microcephaly and other symptomatology from the “Zika” agent.
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