Last week, I wrote about how conspiracy theories have been flowing fast and furious about the Zika virus and microcephaly. Even if you didn’t see that post (perhaps instead having seen this one), you’ve probably seen the news reports describing how last fall the observation of a large number of cases of microcephaly, characterized by an abnormally small head and delayed brain development, in Brazil led researchers investigating the problem to suspect a link to a virus. That virus, the Zika virus, as you recall, is a mosquito-borne flavivirus related to dengue virus and transmitted primarily by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes (photo source here). On the surface, this virus would appear to be a relatively benign virus, with 80% of its infections being asymptomatic and infections in the other 20% manifesting themselves as a self-limited, relatively mild flu-like viral illness characterized by fever, rash, arthralgia (joint aches), and conjunctivitis. Then came the evidence that prenatal infection might cause microcephaly.

As I discussed in my first post, the epidemiological link between Zika virus and microcephaly is not a slam dunk by any stretch of the imagination. It’s not even clear that there has been a major spike in incidence of microcephaly in Brazil. However, the evidence thus far is definitely sufficient to be suggestive of a link, such that further investigation is certainly warranted and perhaps precautions for women in the affected areas would be wise. None of this uncertainty has stopped the conspiracy theorists, of course. As we will see, the bizarre conspiracies are still coming. Perhaps the oddest of them are the ones from antivaccinationists, including a crank group of physicians that I haven’t discussed in a while. I’ll get to them in a moment.

First, however, I can’t help but mention that the CDC has published a new report on Zika virus for its latest issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), Notes from the Field: Evidence of Zika Virus Infection in Brain and Placental Tissues from Two Congenitally Infected Newborns and Two Fetal Losses — Brazil, 2015. This report describes the result of Zika virus assays developed by the CDC for testing formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissue samples. (This is what pathologists routinely do to fix any tissue removed during biopsies or surgery.) In December, the CDC tested tissues from two newborns with microcephaly who died within 20 hours of birth and two miscarriages (fetal loss at 11 and 13 weeks). They all came from the state of Rio Grande do Norte in Brazil, and all four mothers had had clinical signs of Zika virus infection, complete with fever and rash, during the first trimester of pregnancy but had no signs of active infection at the time of delivery or miscarriage. Tissues subjected to testing included brain and other autopsy tissues from the two newborns, a placenta from one of the newborns, and products of conception from the two miscarriages.

These tissues were subjected to reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) directed at the gene for the nonstructural protein 5 and envelope genes using commonly used methods for RT-PCR. Tissues were also subjected to immunohistochemistry (using antibodies to identify specific proteins in tissues) using an anti-Zika virus antibody. This is what the CDC found:

For both newborns, significant histopathologic changes were limited to the brain, and included parenchymal calcification, microglial nodules, gliosis, and cell degeneration and necrosis. Other autopsy tissues and placenta had no significant findings. Tests for toxoplasmosis, rubella, cytomegalovirus, herpes simplex, and HIV were negative in the two mothers who experienced miscarriages. Placental tissue from one miscarriage showed heterogeneous chorionic villi with calcification, fibrosis, perivillous fibrin deposition, and patchy intervillositis and focal villitis, while tissue from the other miscarriage had sparsely sampled normal-appearing chorionic villi.

This report describes evidence of a link between Zika virus infection and microcephaly and fetal demise through detection of viral RNA and antigens in brain tissues from infants with microcephaly and placental tissues from early miscarriages. Histopathologic findings indicate the presence of Zika virus in fetal tissues. These findings also suggest brain and early gestational placental tissue might be the preferred tissues for postmortem viral diagnosis. Nonfrozen, formalin-fixed specimens or FFPE blocks are the preferred sample type for histopathologic evaluation and immunohistochemistry, and RT-PCR can be performed on either fresh frozen or formalin-fixed specimens. To better understand the pathogenesis of Zika virus infection and associated congenital anomalies and fetal death, it is necessary to evaluate autopsy and placental tissues from additional cases, and to determine the effect of gestational age during maternal illness on fetal outcomes.

In other words, the brains showed evidence of cellular degeneration and necrosis (cell death), and the placenta from one of the miscarriages had evidence of inflammation. The importance of these findings is that it shows that the Zika virus can infect the fetus when the mother is infected and that it appears to favor infecting the brain. Obviously, only four individuals are not enough to draw any sort of generalizable conclusions about prenatal Zika virus infection, but these results do provide evidence for biological plausibility of the hypothesis that prenatal Zika virus infection might be causing an outbreak of microcephaly. Still, there are many questions, such as why there haven’t been outbreaks like this before, given that Zika virus has been endemic in many areas since at least the 1950s and there have been outbreaks of Zika virus before in Africa, southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands, as well as several countries in Central and South America where Zika virus outbreaks are currently being reported. Yet, despite how widespread the virus is, there haven’t been reports of increased incidence of microcephaly before this.

As I said the first time I discussed this issue, the whole question of whether Zika virus is causing microcephaly is complicated. Of course, if there’s one thing that attracts answers that are simple and wrong, it’s complex epidemiological questions about whether a given putative etiological agent is actually causing the disease or condition that it’s suspected of causing. No wonder antivaccine loons are all over the case! Sure, there’s the usual nonsense about how Zika virus is nothing more than a fake disease invented by an unholy cabal of the CDC, big pharma, and the World Health Organization (WHO), apparently all in order to contribute to Bill Gates’ global depopulation campaign, but one of the dumber antivaccine conspiracy theorists, the pseudonymous Levi Quackenboss, couldn’t resist asking:

Being the quack that I am, three questions first came to mind.

  1. What is the pesticide regulation situation in Brazil?
  2. Is there a Zika virus vaccine coming down the turnpike?
  3. Have prenatal vaccines been recently introduced to Brazilian women

Of course, Quackenboss forgot the most awesome conspiracy theory about Zika virus I’ve heard thus far, that the cause is genetically modified mosquitos that I discussed in my last post. Not surprisingly, Quackenboss’ answers to all three questions are yes, yes, and yes. She goes on about how Brazil uses a lot of pesticides, which if true is not good of course. She discusses voltage-gated sodium channels in a manner that amused me, because it’s so clear that he’s just showing off to his fellow antivaxers that she knows science, ma-an—or at least thinks she does. Truly, the arrogance of ignorance engendered by the Dunning-Kruger effect is strong in this one. (Ironically, I gave a talk to an ion channel conference held in London in September and have a grant to look at voltage-gated sodium channel function—among other things—as a potential target for breast cancer therapy; so I’m geeking out here. I also know a lot about certain sodium channels.) It turns out that specific pesticides disrupt voltage-gated sodium channel function, something that is well known. It also turns out that Quackenboss found an eleven year old review article that points this out and also notes that anticonvulsants (many of which interfere with voltage-gated sodium channel function) have been associated with birth defects, including microcephaly. Not surprisingly, Quackenboss neglects to mention the other part of the article that give the caveat, “there are currently no data to suggest that developmental exposure to pyrethroids [pesticides] results in similar effects.” Typical.

Also not surprisingly, Quackenboss points out that a Zika virus vaccine is in the pipeline and being pushed out as fast as possible. That’s understandable, of course. Before, there was little incentive because the disease was thought to be a disease that made few people more ill than a self-limited viral illness. Add the potential for birth defects if pregnant women are infected, and the urgency of a vaccine increases by at least an order of magnitude. Predictably, though, to Quackenboss insinuates that the Zika scare is all about pushing this vaccine through the pipeline faster, the better to enrich our pharma overlords.

However, to an antivaccine loon, it’s always first and foremost about the vaccines. (Always and forever, amen.) So the conclusion Quackenboss comes to is about as unsurprising as can be:

Lastly, it was just at the end of 2014– 14 months before Zika hysteria– that the Tdap vaccine was mandated for pregnant women in Brazil. The order came down in October, and 10 months later the first cases of microcephaly were seen by local doctors. So these poor women who are eating pesticide-soaked food, breathing pesticide-filled air, and probably drinking pesticide-poisoned water (except that the municipalities don’t even bother to participate in testing) are now vaccinated against their will with a Class C drug with no adequate studies in humans while pregnant.

This is a particularly dumb conspiracy theory, but, then, Quackenboss is an antivaccinationist. If Tdap is causing microcephaly, one wonders why, then, there haven’t been outbreaks of microcephaly in the US, where the CDC has recommended the Tdap vaccine for pregnant women since 2011. Also, the Tdap is recommended in the third trimester, between weeks 27 and 36. That’s long after microcephaly develops, as the standard recommendation to detect microcephaly is to do an ultrasound late in the second trimester or early in the third. In other words, there’s no biological plausibility in blaming microcephaly on the Tdap vaccine because by the time the vaccine is routinely administered, microcephaly has already developed. Not that that stops Quackenboss from characterizing the association of microcephaly with Zika virus infection as “a misdiagnosed non-epidemic of probable pesticide poisoning and vaccine injury fueled by an American media bored with talking about Hillary Clinton’s email server.” As I pointed out last time, Tdap is safe for pregnant women.

Truly, the stupid, it burns.

Of course, I expect this sort of pseudoscientific nonsense from a twit like Quackenboss. I do not expect it from a physician. Unfortunately, all too frequently I do get this sort of stuff from a physician, which is why I’ve never completely retired my schtick about putting a paper bag over my head when physicians say stupid things. In this case, the physician is Dr. Jane Orient, executive director of Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS). We’ve met Dr. Orient the AAPS before, of course, dating back a long time. It is an organization of physician-cranks (or, if you prefer, crank physicians) that is known for being against vaccine mandates, Medicare (calling it “unconstitutional”), and any form of regulation of health care by government. To top it off, the AAPS has characterized public health programs as “tyranny.” It has also published brain-meltingly bad papers claiming to find that abortion causes breast cancer, has promoted the vile idea that shaken baby syndrome is a misdiagnosis for “vaccine injury,” supported HIV/AIDS denialism, and—of course!—done what all crank medical organizations like to do, attack evidence- and science-based medicine as placing unacceptable limits on physician autonomy. Worse, the AAPS doesn’t even limit itself to medicine in that it’s also published papers attacking anthropogenic global climate change, as though physicians have the necessary expertise to assess climate science. Truly, the crank magnetism and arrogance of the AAPS know no bounds.

Dr. Orient wastes no time demonstrating these traits in her article published—where else?—on WorldNetDaily entitled Zika Virus: What Should We Do About It? I sought it out because, being on the AAPS mailing list, I received a notification of Dr. Orient’s article. Not surprisingly, in it Dr. Orient cites what she calls some “interesting facts”:

  • Brazil had seen an increase in pertussis in fully vaccinated children, so early in 2015 officials mandated immunizing all pregnant women with DTaP (diphtheria/tetanus/acellular pertussis) vaccine, without awaiting proof of efficacy or safety in the developing baby. Only 32 pregnant women were enrolled in a trial of this vaccine, and no results are posted yet.
  • A variable number of months after the vaccinations, the number of microcephaly cases increased from essentially zero in October 2015 to 1,200 in November, and continued to climb.
  • Because of a measles outbreak, there was a major vaccination campaign with MMR (measles/mumps/rubella) in Pernambuco, Brazil, in late 2014. This is a live virus vaccine, and many women likely received it in early pregnancy or shortly before becoming pregnant. Congenital rubella syndrome can cause microcephaly among many other problems, but this was not found in surveillance of American women who inadvertently received MMR around the time of conception.

I can’t help but note here that Dr. Orient actually one-ups the pseudonymous antivaccine loon Quackenboss by coming up with two—two!—different antivaccine conspiracies to blame the increase in cases of microcephaly on instead of Zika virus. That’s hard to do. Instead of just blaming Tdap, she blames the MMR vaccine as well through a tenuous link with congenital rubella syndrome. Of course, many many millions of doses of MMR have been given with no observed association with an increase in birth defects consistent with congenital rubella syndrome. (One notes that congenital rubella syndrome is also associated with autism.) Quite the opposite, in fact. In the US, congenital rubella syndrome has been virtually eliminated, thanks to widespread vaccination with MMR. Seriously, you’d think that Dr. Orient could come up with a more plausible way to link the MMR to microcephaly. That she couldn’t should tell you a lot about the science supporting her other claims about vaccines; i.e., there isn’t any.

Worse, Dr. Orient can’t even get her facts right. DTaP is the vaccine given to children. Tdap is the vaccine given to adults. Tdap is what Brazil started recommending for pregnant women beginning in 2014, because it’s the adult version of the vaccine. She’s also incorrect that there are no studies documetning the safety of the Tdap vaccine in pregnant women. Then, again, there is the aforementioned basic biological implausibility of the hypothesis that Tdap causes microcephaly based on simple embryology and the timing of the vaccination in the third trimester. None of this stops Dr. Orient from plumbing the depths of medical ignorance, though:

The damaged babies are a terrible tragedy. How can we prevent more? Instead of waiting for some future vaccine against a virus that may prove innocent, we could stop transmission now with effective mosquito control in affected areas. We could also immediately stop deliberately exposing women who might be pregnant to medicines or vaccines without thorough safety testing.

In fact, in this conclusion, consistent with her role in the AAPS she can’t resist engaging in a bit of politics, including a little Rachel Carson revisionism. What do I mean by that? Simple. The above paragraph is the final paragraph in her piece; reading it doesn’t tell you what she means by “effective mosquito control.” However, earlier Dr. Orient spelled out what she meant:

The unfortunate babies are being used to promote political causes: legalization of abortion in Latin America, or the fight against “climate change.”

With warmer temperatures, mosquitoes might be able to move further north, it is claimed. But Aedes aegypti arrived in North America around 1980 in a shipment of used tires, not waiting for a temperature increase. And mosquito-transmitted malaria was prevalent in Minnesota during the Little Ice Age. Climate change or not, mosquitoes will not be inconvenienced if we bankrupt our coal industry or ban SUVs.

Travel restrictions would greatly harm the economy of Latin American countries, especially as Brazil is preparing to host the Olympics. Of course, there is no screening at all of illegal entrants to the U.S. The key public health measure is mosquito control. Mosquito-borne diseases, after a time when it was thought that even malaria might be wiped out, began increasing worldwide when the U.S. banned the most effective public health weapon of all time: DDT. If Zika causes rethinking of this disastrous decision, even though other deadly threats like malaria have not, it will save millions of lives – and even help us win the war on bed bugs.

Wow. Anthropogenic climate change denial, demonization of immigrants, and Rachel Carson revisionism, all in one scientifically ignorant package!

If you’ve read Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, you’d be aware that there has been a renewed concerted effort to discredit Rachel Carson, which is what I mean when I refer to “Carson revisionism.” The original effort, of course, occurred immediately after the publication of her highly popular and influential anti-pesticide book Silent Spring and involved the pesticide and chemical industries. However, over the last decade or so, the story of Rachel Carson has been subjected to historical revisionism by the very same people who tried to deny the science demonstrating the harmful health effects of tobacco and who more recently have spearheaded anthropogenic climate change denialism.

It’s beyond the scope of this post to go into detail about the new Rachel Carson revisionism (although I have touched on it before and might do so again in more detail some day), but suffice to say that it involves a narrative in which, because of the anti-pesticide and anti-DDT fervor ignited by her book that led to the banning of DDT in the US, and, if you believe the narrative, in the rest of the world, millions died of malaria that DDT could have saved. Indeed, in a speech railing against climate science, dismissing secondhand tobacco smoke as harmless, and characterizing environmentalism as a “religion,” the arch crank himself, Michael Crichton, characterized the DDT ban as having “caused the deaths of tens of millions of poor people, mostly children, whose deaths are directly attributable to a callous, technologically advanced western society that promoted the new cause of environmentalism by pushing a fantasy about a pesticide, and thus irrevocably harmed the third world.” In his novel State of Fear, Crichton even had one of his characters say, ““Banning DDT killed more people than Hitler.” He even put the death toll at 50 million. Tellingly, the plot of State of Fear involved eco-terrorists plotting mass murder to publicize the dangers of global warming. No wonder Chris Mooney described the novel as “pure porn for global warming deniers.”

There’s only one problem with the revisionist narrative pushed by Crichton before his death and still being promoted by conservative free market-friendly think tanks like the Heartland Institute and the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Although Rachel Carson was certainly not correct about everything (for instance, the evidence linking DDT and cancer turned out to be fairly weak, even over 50 years later), nonetheless this revisionist narrative is demonstrably a load of fetid dingos’ kidneys promoted by the likes of not just Crichton but Steve Milloy, who never met an anti-environmentalism myth he didn’t like, DDT included. The “Rachel Carson killed more people than Hitler” myth is basically a zombie myth that won’t die. In reality, DDT use peaked before Silent Spring and DDT use was decreasing because mosquitos were developing resistance. Sadly, it’s a myth that skeptics who should know better not infrequently fall for, sometimes people I never would have guessed as being susceptible to such messages.

So, if you believe antivaccinationists, it’s not Zika virus that’s causing a surge in cases of microcephaly in Brazil, but—surprise! surprise!—vaccines. And if you believe Dr. Orient and her “brave maverick doctor” pals at the AAPS, the cure is to stop vaccinating reproductive age women, fire up the DDT plants again, and start spraying. Both of them, of course, agree that it’s all the fault of big pharma, which eager to sell a new vaccine against Zika virus, also pushes ever more and more vaccines in order to maximize profits. It’s all logical…if you’re a an antivaccine warrior. Otherwise, not so much.

Where is that paper bag again?

Comments

  1. #1 Amethyst
    The Crystal Temple
    February 11, 2016

    I told them we shouldn’t have had vaccinatrd all those mosquitoes. I told them but they wouldn’t listen and now they’ve doomed us all! Fools!

  2. #2 G.D.
    February 11, 2016

    Just to complete the picture, I feel the need to point out that Janet Orient is also a creationist and signatory to the Discovery Institute petition A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism. The AAPS house journal JPANDS publishes defenses of Lupron therapy, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, HIV denialism, the mythical link between abortion and breast cancer, the idea that Obama uses neurolinguistic programming to mind-control people at rallies, and that single case studies provide better evidence for medical claims than randomized controlled trials (D&C Miller). Add that to her global warming denialism and anti-vaxx views, and Orient might just come out as the most anti-science person of any note in the US.

    (Other members of the AAPS include professionals like Paul Broun, Russell Blaylock and Joe Mercola, as well as both Ron and Rand Paul. It’s like the ConspiraSea Cruise of medical organizations.)

    • #3 Orac
      February 11, 2016

      Oh, sure. It’s been several years since I’ve done a post about the AAPS. I’ve been meaning to update my old post to see what the AAPS has been up to in the last few years. In other words, what new politically and ideologically motivated woo has the AAPS embraced lately? 🙂

  3. #4 Daniel Corcos
    https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Daniel_Corcos2
    February 11, 2016

    @ Amethyst
    Have you noticed the size of the mosquito’s head in the picture?

  4. #5 MI Dawn
    February 11, 2016

    @Amethyst and Daniel Corcos: ix-nay with the mosquito comments. You really don’t want to annoy our reptilian overlord while he’s supposed to be on vacation. The last minions who did that got to babysit and urrrr…feed…..the hatchlings…

  5. #6 Chris Hickie
    Tucson-where loony Orient lives
    February 11, 2016

    Ahh, Jane Orient. During Tucson’s 2008 measles outbreak (21 cases), she went on TV news to disparage the MMR vaccine and tell parents that measles was not a serious illness. In 2011, her AAPS had Wakefield as their keynote speaker at their annual convention. She’s an older version of Jack Wolfson, the AV “paleo cardiologist”, who also lives in AZ.

    I keep hoping Orient will retire or completely lose her mind. She’s clearly losing her mind, but not fast enough.

  6. #7 Orac
    February 11, 2016

    Ooh. I never knew that the AAPS ever had Andrew Wakefield give the keynote for its convention. I knew they were cranks, but…geez!

  7. #8 Chris Hickie
    February 11, 2016
  8. #9 Rob
    February 11, 2016

    Wow, if only life were so simple.

    There is only one small problem. Mosquitoes. Spray. There, solved the problem.

    Oh, and vacines. They’re bad.

    See how easy it is for an expert like me to understand the problem and know all the answers?

  9. #10 Denice Walter
    February 11, 2016

    @ Rob:

    But you can’t spray CHEMICALS- they’re POISON!

    Imagine what will happen when the CHEMICALS interact with GMO crops that are eaten which then destroy the microbiome! And then the mercury will leach out of dental fillings, etc.

  10. #11 Mike
    February 11, 2016

    Virology professor Vincent Racaniello has a blog post up today notes the new CDC report mentioned in this blog post plus two additional reports that add more evidence indicating that Zika causes microcephaly

    http://www.virology.ws/2016/02/10/zika-virus-and-microcephaly/

  11. #12 Denice Walter
    February 11, 2016

    In other anti-vaccine news..

    it appears that warrior moms ( @ Kim Stagliano and Zorro of TMR) are up in arms because a comedian ( @ Rosie) joked that replacing each of her unruly teenagers with “triplets with autism” would be a good deal.

    I’m not sure if that is cruel or insulting to autistic kids or just acknowledging that kids with autism- and teenagers- are a lot of work and worry.
    Would anyone be upset if she said she’d replace them with preschoolers, footballers or art students? All of whom are potentially worrisome and pains-in-the-arse.

    The other comics noted ( @ TMR) are worse ( the R word).

    I’ve personally noted that some middle-aged gentlemen are more problematic than a 90 year old with heart failure- which is a situation I do know a bit about. It’s not meant to insult the heart patient -btw-

    I suppose that Warrior Moms need a daily battle.

  12. #13 Orac
    February 11, 2016

    Virology professor Vincent Racaniello has a blog post up today notes the new CDC report mentioned in this blog post plus two additional reports that add more evidence indicating that Zika causes microcephaly

    D’oh! That’s what I get for not perusing the NEJM table of contents last night before I wrote this post. That NEJM case report is indeed highly suggestive. The investigators did next generation sequencing and recovered the complete Zika virus genome from the brain of a fetus that developed microcephaly seen on an ultrasound at 28 weeks and was aborted. I might have to blog it…

    http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1600651

  13. #14 Gray Squirrel
    February 11, 2016

    News item: Zika linked to 2-3 deaths in Brazil, presumably adult patients. This via National Public Radio news last night. Public health scientists are considering the possibility that Zika may be more serious in adults than previously thought.

    Re. Anti-vax Anti-science Physicians & Surgeons: Prediction: if microcephaly is typically diagnosed in the fetus in the late 2nd – early 3d trimester, AAPS will charge that there is also a conspiracy afoot to use it to promote late-term abortions in the US.

    Re. DDT: I think of it as similar to a last-ditch antibiotic: it can work wonders if used with the utmost caution and only in serious emergencies. For example to knock down a major but localized mosquito infestation, immediately before introducing other mosquito control measures.

    Re. Michael Crichton: In the early 80s he spoke at anti-nuclear conferences. I don’t know if he was a full-on raging loon at that point, but I’m inclined to think that certain anti-nuclear arguements are a “gateway drug” to more & worse anti-science paranoia. Anti-nuclearism also has an obvious tie-in to climate change denialism since fission reactors can replace coal-fired power plants in areas that don’t have good renewable energy resources (cloudy/overcast & not much wind).

  14. #15 Orac
    February 11, 2016

    Re. Anti-vax Anti-science Physicians & Surgeons: Prediction: if microcephaly is typically diagnosed in the fetus in the late 2nd – early 3d trimester, AAPS will charge that there is also a conspiracy afoot to use it to promote late-term abortions in the US.

    Already happening. Dr. Orient alluded to it when she wrote:

    The unfortunate babies are being used to promote political causes: legalization of abortion in Latin America, or the fight against “climate change.”

    Other cranks are also claiming that fear of birth defects due to Zika virus is being used to pressure the Catholic Church to take a less hard line stand on abortion in countries where Zika virus outbreaks are being reported, most of which are in Latin American countries, where the population is overwhelmingly Catholic.

  15. #16 MI Dawn
    February 11, 2016

    Well, of course we all know how to prevent the problems with the birth defects. Simple – tell women not to get pregnant for a year. If the women would just cooperate, it wouldn’t be a problem. Tell the men no sex? Of course not. Duh. (end sarcasm).

    Since the countries currently are overwhelmingly Catholic and birth control is also forbidden along with abortion, I can see that working really well.

  16. #17 Denice Walter
    February 11, 2016

    @ MI Dawn:

    ” Tell the men no sex?”
    That’s the plot of recent film, based on a play.

  17. #18 Dan Welch
    February 11, 2016

    I love how one quack is blaming everything on pesticides, and the other believes that the problem is that DDT is no longer in use. It would be fun to put these nominally-on-the-same-side wasters-of-oxygen together and have them reconcile their views.

  18. #19 justthestats
    February 11, 2016

    @Denice Walter:

    a comedian ( @ Rosie) joked that replacing each of her unruly teenagers with “triplets with autism” would be a good deal.

    I’m not sure if that is cruel or insulting to autistic kids or just acknowledging that kids with autism- and teenagers- are a lot of work and worry.

    I think it’s mostly just Rosie displaying her ignorance of how hard it is to parent three children with autism. Besides, aren’t the kids going to become teenagers some day? Maybe she’ll just do another replacement at that point.

    @Gray Squirrel:

    Public health scientists are considering the possibility that Zika may be more serious in adults than previously thought.

    We strongly suspect that the strain in Brazil is more contagious than older strains and more capable of reproducing in human cells. It doesn’t seem that implausible that that would make the symptoms more severe in humans as well. So perhaps this strain is more dangerous than the ones that gave Zika its “mostly harmless” label.

    @Dan Welch:

    I love how one quack is blaming everything on pesticides, and the other believes that the problem is that DDT is no longer in use. It would be fun to put these nominally-on-the-same-side wasters-of-oxygen together and have them reconcile their views.

    I think there is a fair chance that they would reconcile their views by completely agreeing with each other on all points. They are both masters of ignoring conflicting ideas.

  19. #20 Gilbert
    February 11, 2016

    Anybody got a link to a slow-mo/high frame rate video of a feeding mosquito exploding??

    It’s real. Some say pull on the skin but the surefire way is to flex back your wrist when one lands on the forearm. Very quickly, as the pressure rises, all legs leave the arm and the mosquito is sticking up toward the zenith with nothing else for support save a pressurized probiscus prop-rod. And then…{redacted}! Man, it’s the shizzle.

    Crude pesticide poisoning and confiscation of people’s houseplants, bird baths and old tires is no longer an acceptable trade-off of security v. health safety when there has been a technological solution for nearly a decade:

    The Star Wars Mosquito Defense System**
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G50faHi-Q9c

    ** –not intended for use around mutant, flying fairy children
    — not for highway use
    — UV/IR tracking mirrors not available in beige, sarcoline, coquelicot, fulvous, or fuschia

  20. #21 Marry Me, Mindy
    February 11, 2016

    The other abortion conspiracy I have heard is that the reason why microcephaly has not been found for babies all over the world, despite the use of TDaP, is because those babies are all being aborted, whereas in Brazil, they aren’t. So the problems with TDaP are being missed due to abortion.

  21. #22 Eric Lund
    February 11, 2016

    So perhaps this strain is more dangerous than the ones that gave Zika its “mostly harmless” label.

    There is precedent for that. ISTR that until about a century ago, diphtheria was considered mostly harmless. Then a nasty strain developed, and that strain is why we vaccinate against diphtheria today. Or consider E. coli: most strains are harmless or even beneficial, but there is that one strain that’s really nasty.

  22. #23 herr doktor bimler
    February 11, 2016

    The AAPS house journal JPANDS publishes defenses of Lupron therapy, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, HIV denialism, the mythical link between abortion and breast cancer, the idea that Obama uses neurolinguistic programming to mind-control people at rallies, and that single case studies provide better evidence for medical claims than randomized controlled trials (D&C Miller).

    And fluoride?
    John Birch Society with stethoscopes.

  23. #24 RichardR
    February 11, 2016

    Tdap is recommended in the third trimester, between weeks 27 and 36. That’s long after microcephaly develops,

    I wouldn’t put it past antivaccine cranks to posit the existence of some sort of time-reversed causality to support their crazy ideas. After all, we’re talking about roughly the same people who think that the more absent(*) an active ingredient is, the more potent a medicine becomes.

    *: Which in itself is already a clear sign of a rather twisted world view.

  24. #25 kruuth
    Uurth
    February 11, 2016

    Just spitballing but given the size of the outbreaks and the increase in prenatal and perinatal care in affected regions, I would think that the reason that we haven’t seen this before is because until recently none of these children survived at all, leading them to be registered as stillbirths without much thought given to it. Couple that with the low instance of symptoms, is that possibly an explanation for not seeing this before?

  25. #26 MarkN
    February 11, 2016

    @24 — possible overdiagnoses due to expanded criteria and awareness reporting may be confounding cases, certainly. But, evidence looks like a mutated substitution from a Zika virus not endemic to the area for decades, but of another continent altogether.

  26. #27 MarkN
    February 11, 2016

    my reply was meant for kruuth (now at #25)

  27. #28 Dorit Reiss
    February 11, 2016
  28. #29 Orac
    February 11, 2016

    I’d disagree with the title that there is “no longer any doubt” that Zika virus causes microcephaly. The NEJM article is strong piece of evidence, but it sure as heck doesn’t remove all doubt.

  29. #30 Dorit Reiss
    February 11, 2016

    I agree, and I admit that as a non-scientist I was not clear why the scientist commenting in the article thought that epidemiological studies would be “nice to have” rather than needed here. If you do right on this, I would be very interested in your analysis.

  30. #31 Eric Lund
    February 11, 2016

    the idea that Obama uses neurolinguistic programming to mind-control people at rallies

    There is some empirical evidence for this one. Note how many Americans automatically oppose any idea, even if they previously supported it, that Obama advocates. It’s why I have heard some people say, only half in jest, that Obama should take a strong public stance against drinking bleach. (I don’t think the latter crowd knows about MMS, and if they do, they’d probably agree with Orac on the subject.)

  31. #32 doug
    February 11, 2016

    It rather astounds me how determined so many people seem to be to vindicate Zika virus and blame anything and everything else for microcephaly. It’s almost as if they are all investors in some biotech company that is trying out some other virus and they want all scrutiny of all viruses shut down to prevent detection of their money-maker (of course the real money won’t roll in unless they can keep their virus under wraps until the Olympics are underway).

  32. #33 Gilbert
    February 11, 2016

    Obama uses neurolinquistic programming

  33. #34 Orac
    February 11, 2016

    It rather astounds me how determined so many people seem to be to vindicate Zika virus and blame anything and everything else for microcephaly.

    If it’s Zika virus causing microcephaly, then they can’t blame it on their favorite bugaboo, be it vaccines, GMOs, or pesticides.

  34. #35 Panacea
    February 11, 2016

    Has anyone ever examined the med school grades of members of the AAPS? Because I can’t help but wonder if all their anti science lunacy has to do with the fact they must have sucked at science in pre-med.

  35. #36 Science Mom
    http://justthevax.blogspot.com/
    February 11, 2016

    Has anyone ever examined the med school grades of members of the AAPS? Because I can’t help but wonder if all their anti science lunacy has to do with the fact they must have sucked at science in pre-med.

    I don’t think that’s any indicator. Besides, they would have had to get top grades in pre-med or they wouldn’t have gotten into (most) med schools. Dr. Bob Sears for example boasts of his excellent grades in med school, for all the good it did for his ethics and critical-thinking skills.

  36. #37 herr doktor bimler
    February 11, 2016

    The AAPS is primarily a political / religious lobby. Do not underestimate the willingness of the human mind to let political / tribal allegiance drown out the quiet voice of facts.

    Jane Orient herself appears to be a subsidiary of Philip Morris.
    http://americanloons.blogspot.co.nz/2014/04/1000-jane-orient.html

    Then there is the “Doctors for Disaster Preparedness” — a pro-coal lobby group, climate-change denialism with a stethoscope — it and AAPS are two buttocks of a single bum. The name of Andrew Schlafly keeps coming up.

  37. #38 Militant Agnostic
    February 11, 2016

    Dorit Reiss @30

    If you do right on this

    Orac always does right.

    Orac

    Of course, I expect this sort of pseudoscientific nonsense from a twit like Quackenboss. I do not expect it from a physician.

    How long have you been doing this – by now you should expect it.

  38. #39 Narad
    February 11, 2016

    What is the pesticide regulation situation in Brazil?

    There’s a new player on the field. Scouting reports are not promising. (H/T Amy Vittor.)

  39. #40 Narad
    February 11, 2016

    If it’s Zika virus causing microcephaly, then they can’t blame it on their favorite bugaboo, be it vaccines, GMOs, or pesticides.

    You forget synergy in vulnerable populations.

  40. #41 MI Dawn
    February 11, 2016

    @Dorit: “if you do right”…
    Orac’s first name is Dudley? (or am I showing my age?)

  41. #42 Narad
    February 11, 2016

    Orac’s first name is Dudley? (or am I showing my age?)

    I almost floated “penny for a gumball, Popeye” at the dollar store today.

  42. #43 Lancelot Link
    February 12, 2016

    herr doktor bimler @23
    “John Birch Society with stethoscopes.”
    That is literally true. The two groups have quite a few members in common.

  43. #44 MI Dawn
    February 12, 2016

    Thanks, Narad. Now I feel better. 🙂

  44. #45 Gilbert
    February 12, 2016

    Narad #39, The mind boggles.

    Upon seeing “Physicians in the Crop-Sprayed Towns”, I had not recognized them as a group but rather as just another example of compromising ‘mixed case’ by the author.

    I had to read it several times for it to sink in that “introduced into the drinking water supply in 2014” was just as it sounds and not an unintended effect of crop-spray.

    Alas, it must be true because the WHO:

    The 2001 JMPR assessed the safety of
    pyriproxyfen as a mosquito larvicide in potable water and concluded that intake at the target concentration for control would not present unacceptable risks.

    ^^How thoughtful of them. “in the form of white or off-
    white viscous liquid with faint characteristic odor,” That is, it probably subtly smells/tastes like ass to let people know it’s in there.

    The report is from 2005 and notes

    Pyriproxyfen is not co-formulated with
    other pesticides.

    ^^This is no longer the case as can be seen with discontinued Adams Flea & Tick home and carpet spray which has a little pyripoxyfen in it, or mixtures of imidacloprid and pyriproxyfen for applying to cats and dogs.

    http://www.simplesteps.org/greenpaws-products/adams-flea-tick-home-carpet-spray-cancelled

    Suppose handy spraycans of stockpiled Adams Flea and Tick were occasionaly grabbed by the hot, sweaty, beleaguered Brazilian worker in lieu of mixing up and lugging around a shouldered tank when bopping from rooftop to rooftop… People do.

    I suppose a mosquito net on those tanks would be right out as the little buggers would just do their thing elsewhere, or something.

    Zika looks less likely the culprit in light of this Columbian observation:

    More than 3,100 pregnant Colombian women are infected with the mosquito-borne Zika virus, President Juan Manuel Santos said …

    … There are so far no recorded cases of Zika-linked microcephaly in Colombia

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-zika-colombia-idUSKCN0VF0QG

  45. #47 kruuth
    Uurth
    February 12, 2016

    @26:

    That makes sense. I wasn’t sure reading based on the sampling size.

  46. #48 MarkN
    February 12, 2016

    @45 Gilbert, on the contrary, rather that the ZIKV mutation has not yet spread to/affected Columbian regions could also be argued. I would say that if we see more work on finding specific ZIKV variant of each case. Also, reclassifying who is truly diagnostic of microcephaly, versus who just falls within a revised guideline for cephalic measurement, but does not have neural involvement.

    Overall, I believe we are seeing a novel ZIKV causing this problem and will become a larger pandemic issue.

  47. #49 MarkN
    February 12, 2016

    shoot — Colombia…sorry about that

  48. #50 JustaTech
    February 12, 2016

    Gilbert @45: Somewhere on YouTube there is (or was) a collection of WWII Disney PSAs about how to kill mosquitoes. The one I watched had Goofy pouring used motor oil on a swamp to kill the mosquito larvae (and presumably everything else).

  49. #51 Gilbert
    February 12, 2016

    JustaTech #50, the oil causes a disruption of boundary-layer surface tention such that the larvae sink and are drownded — Vegetable oil would be just as effective.

    Have even small lawn ponds made of buried plasic forms scattered around the household; Stock them with a few koi fish. Problem solved without putting a little Bill Gates into every container around.

  50. #52 Chris Preston
    Australia
    February 12, 2016

    What is the pesticide regulation situation in Brazil?

    In fact pesticide regulation in Brazil is quite good: a relatively strong science-based activity as anyone who might bother to check (and can read Portuguese) could easily find out.

    The main problem with pesticides in Brazil is lack of education among users and careless and unscrupulous applicators.

  51. #53 Narad
    February 12, 2016

    In fact pesticide regulation in Brazil is quite good: a relatively strong science-based activity as anyone who might bother to check (and can read Portuguese) could easily find out.

    Robyn “Levi” Ross invoked this item as her taking-off point.

  52. […] discussion). I don’t believe the Zika Virus is anything to get worked up about because I think what’s really going on in Brazil is vaccine related, and that it’s yet another thing intended to make is freak […]

  53. #55 Chris Preston
    February 13, 2016

    Headline in this morning’s Sunday Telegraph (Sydney):

    “Anti-vax nuts crack at last as law bites”

    Article is about the fact that conscientious objectors to vaccination have dropped 12% since Australia refused to give them a welfare payment for getting your kids vaccinated.

    Good news. But even better news is the headline. The good work of the SAVN is paying off and the likes of Meryl Dorey are being seen for what they really are.

  54. #56 Chris Preston
    February 13, 2016

    Robyn “Levi” Ross invoked this item as her taking-off point.

    All the pesticides mentioned are regulated for use in the US. The problem is not regulation, but education, training and enforcement.

  55. #57 Narad
    February 13, 2016

    In random vaccine-crank news, somebody who shall not be named has been published!

  56. #58 herr doktor bimler
    February 13, 2016

    somebody who shall not be named has been published!

    I’ll take “what kind of hopeless sucker feeds money into the OMICS scam?” for $200.

  57. #59 Dangerous Bacon
    February 13, 2016

    Speaking of Conspiracies, what’s the over/under on how long until Natural News tells us who really did in Justice Scalia?

  58. #60 anonimo
    February 14, 2016

    zika is fraud. 4000 cases of microcephaly this number reduced to 270 zika suspects and only 8 confirmed with zika with microcefaliar
    cases of zika is the northeast region of Brazil. There decades in Africa and has no reporting microcefaliar in Africa. Olympics will be held in winter in Brazil and the mosquitoes not play.

    Brazil has 205 million people on average have less 300 cases. US averages 2500 to 25,000 per year. 86% of the cases concentrated northeastern Brazil and not in the whole Brazil which in northeast signal is concentrated where more cases of zika and microcefaliar in Brazil and which has more cases of anomaly where the transgenic mosquitoes were played.
    “Workers Party” PT “which is the feminist movement and the government is interested in legalizing abortion in general Brazil ……. they will get in the coming months in the Supreme Court with federal safety mandate to legalize abortion by the Supreme because the national congress did not pass. the same government that prohibits pill cancer not expect anything else, since the voters of Rousseff believe she’s doing good of Brazil.
     
     The President of Brazil Dilma wants to use combat the mosquito that transmits dengue and zika etc …. to distract the people, because your government is in the news involved in several corruption scandals involving members of his party and allies arrested for corruption and the process impeachment in the coming months. use mosquito fight to distract the people, but many Brazilians have already agreed to it.

    website 1
    http://www.bbc.com/portuguese/noticias/2016/01/160126_zika_stf_pai_rs

    site 2 http://www.bbc.com/portuguese/noticias/2016/02/160201_zika_aborto_temporao_rs

    site 3
    http://g1.globo.com/ac/acre/noticia/2016/02/ministro-defende-opcao-de-aborto-em-caso-de-fetos-com-microcefalia-no-ac.html

     of Rio Grande do Sul The government suspended on Saturday (13) the use of water for human consumption pyriproxyfen larvicide used to stop the development of mosquito larvae Aedes aegypti, the transmitter zika virus. The product is manufactured by Sumitomo Chemical.

    http://g1.globo.com/ac/acre/noticia/2016/02/ministro-defende-opcao-de-aborto-em-caso-de-fetos-com-microcefalia-no-ac.html

     colombia registers 2824 pregnant with zika and no cases of microcefaliar
    http://www.jornalnh.com.br/_conteudo/2016/02/noticias/mundo/273438-colombia-registra-2-824-gravidas-com-zika-e-nenhum-caso-de-microcefalia.html

  59. #61 MarkN
    February 14, 2016

    anonimo — If you’re going to toss out some crap, maybe start with a basic understanding of the case reporting — from the ~4,180 reported cases, 732 had been reviewed. Of the 732 cases reviewed, 462 were found not to be microcephaly, and 270 were considered to be so. Expanded criteria for clinical dx and greater awareness are the main reasons for over-diagnosing. That DOES NOT mean that “zika is fraud.”

    It does mean that we might still have an infectious disease problem.

    Further, of the few cases where neural tissue was actually analyzed upon fetal demise, zika virus (ZIKV) was found — specifically in neural tissue. One study sequenced the genome and found 5 mutations, two of these mutations have highly probable phenotype effects by substitution of amino acids in key positions. My money is that this mutated ZIKV will be found in other fetal demise cases, but what do I know.

  60. […] women receive the Tdap vaccine between weeks 27 and 36 of pregnancy. The result has been a whole boatload of antivaccine conspiracies blaming the increase in microcephaly on the Tdap vaccination. One can’t help but wonder what […]

  61. […] Zika virus and microcephaly: Antivaccine warriors say it’s vaccines that did it! […]

  62. […] sprung up over the last couple of months, given that Steve Novella, Tara Smith, and, of course, yours truly have deconstructed these in detail already. Suffice to say that the main conspiracy theories come […]

  63. #65 Gracias
    February 24, 2016

    I was almost taking you seriously until your writing started to sound like Donald Trump. Using terms like Loons or Quacken boss instantly removes any scientific credibility from your resume since it shows that you have already a stance on the matter. It also shows that you have no objectivity which is the foundation of scientific study as well as journalism. Rule out nothing until you have evidence to rule it out. That’s like a homicide detective instantly ruling out the husband as a suspect in his wifes’ murder because he says he didn’t do it and they didn’t see him do it.
    Plus you have at least one thing very wrong. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19752457

    You actually contradict and question your own findings more than once in your article. If you want to be a serious journalist then you need to take your writing seriously.

    • #66 Orac
      February 24, 2016

      You do realize that “Quackenboss” is the pseudonym of a blogger I refuted in this piece, don’t you? I didn’t make the term up. I simply used the blogger’s chosen pseudonym. As for that article, it doesn’t refute anything in my post. Try again.

  64. #67 herr doktor bimler
    February 24, 2016

    If you want to be a serious journalist

    Surely the aspiration of every surgeon / medical researcher!

  65. #68 Helianthus
    February 24, 2016

    That’s like a homicide detective instantly ruling out the husband as a suspect in his wifes’ murder because he says he didn’t do it and they didn’t see him do it.

    Well, since the detective has caught a repeating offender with prior in assaulting people on the murder site, and the suspect’s hands show trace of gunpowder, the detective may be excused for moving the husband a few notches down the list of suspects.
    Especially since the husband was apparently out of town at the time.

    Sidenote
    I’m puzzled as to how people could blame vaccines and pesticides for microcephaly, and then ask for re-introducing DDT in the next breath.

  66. #69 Amethyst
    The Crystal Temple
    February 24, 2016

    Because DDT is magical.

  67. #70 Beth
    February 24, 2016

    #67 Surely the aspiration of every surgeon / medical researcher!

    ROTFL.

  68. #71 Helianthus
    February 24, 2016

    @ hdb

    Surely the aspiration of every surgeon / medical researcher!

    Eh, Lucy Liu made the transition and was very successful at it.
    Granted, it was more exactly from surgeon to consulting detective, and her character had a great role model.

    Sidenote (I seem to be making a lot of these today)
    For those equating “The Watson” with “dumb”, look up “hypercompetent sidekick” on TVtropes.

  69. #72 Martin
    Germany
    February 27, 2016

    Being active in fundamental biological research for more than two decades, I would say that in a case such as the sudden rise in microcephaly in a geographically limited area, any possible cause should be anlyzed thoroughly before the culprit is plead guilty.
    As a first step, any factor that has changed in the same time window needs to be examined. Of course, considering gestation time, the nine months preciding the rise in case numbers need to be considered.
    With this in mind, there clearly a temporal correlation of the introduction of the (mandatory) Tdap vaccination of pregnant women and the increase of cases of microcephaly. This does, of course, not proof that the vaccination is indeed the cause. But ignoring this possibility is wantonly negligent from a scientific point of view. This is in now way excusable by the fact that some mystics broadcast conspiracy theories.
    The Zika virus, on the other hand, doesn’t provide this kind of temporal coincidence. The detection of Zika viruses or infection biomarkers in blood and tissues doesn’t proof anything without evidence that a statistically significant number of malborne children have been carried by infected mothers while non-infected mothers are significantly less at risk to give birth to a malformed baby. But again, the Zika hypothesis also needs to be followed.
    Equally, the hypothesis that a new, more malignant type of Zika is responsible for malformation could be proven or disproven applying good scientific practice. But such evidence has not yet been presented to my knowledge.
    Finally, and here’s a bit of conspiration theory, it needs to be considered that the stakes are high. Would the vaccine be responsble for the desaster, what would you expect would the Brazilian government and the manufacturer do? Admit publicly that there may be a causal connection? Rather not. In fact, you would expect that the government launches publicly visible activities that divert the public attention as far away from the vaccine as possible. Like spraying a lot of insecticides all over the country – with yet unknown effects on health and environment but making good press photographs. Had the Brazilian government the full conviction that the vaccine is harmless, they should have the stamina to continue the campaign. Which it won’t, I am pretty sure. When in a or two year from now tons of insecticides have been sprayed and microcephaly cases drop back to normal values the government will claim this success to it’s activities. The fact that vaccination had stopped the same time will make a short note in the news.

    Such a screenplay wouldn’t be the first of its kind.
    Being grown up in Germany in the 70ies I am very familiar with kids of my age with shortened or missing limbs (dysplasia or aplysia). These so-called ‘Contergan-Kids’ were born in a very narrow time window of 3 years (1958-61). After the sleeping pill ‘Contergan’ had to be withdrawn from the market, the cases of dysplasia/aplasia drop back to pre-wave numbers. Most notably, first suspicions of Contergan being the cause were raised in 1958 already but ridiculed than. Compensations were eventually granted in 1970.
    Does this sound familiar in any way?
    So don’t be to harsh on the anti-vaccinists – at least be ready to offer your apologies should they are proven right in a few years.
    Being a critical scientist I surely would not recommend Tdap vaccination to my pregnant daughter.

  70. #73 Narad
    February 27, 2016

    With this in mind, there clearly a temporal correlation of the introduction of the (mandatory) Tdap vaccination

    Nope.

  71. #74 MarkN
    February 28, 2016

    Another post mortem zikv genome reporting in case of fetalis hydrops with hydranencephaly. Similar genome as reported in NEJM.

    http://journals.plos.org/plosntds/article?id=10.1371/journal.pntd.0004517

  72. #75 artelio
    us
    March 4, 2016

    The question remains, why are we seeing an outbreak now when the virus is been around for ever?

  73. #76 Narad
    March 4, 2016

    The question remains, why are we seeing an outbreak now when the virus is been around for ever?

    An anthropophilic vector and virgin soil with pockets of high population density. ZIKV was happily sylvatic and enzootic for a good long time. Remember, the Yap Island outbreak was only in 2007.

  74. #77 Joe Salaman
    March 13, 2016

    Great comment from Mark in Germany, very objective.

    From my life spent outside of the medical profession, but from a scientific family background and devoid of any religious influence (devout atheist). I feel I am too, more objective than most on many issues. I have always tried to focus on the evidence rather than the rhetoric.
    There is no credible evidence that Zika causes micro encephalitic births. There is much credible evidence that aluminum hydroxide and aluminum phosphate, especially in combination with ethyl mercury (not a listed ingredient, but still present in all vaccines, due to its continued use to preserve component ingredients) do cause severe brain damage in adults let alone a fetus with no blood- brain barrier yet formed. All these and more toxins are in the DTaP shot.
    How is it that the WHO and CDC have recently given the green light to vaccinating pregnant women, a previously unheard of practice in medicine!
    Now correct me if I am wrong here, but doesn’t the placenta prevent most pathogens from entering the fetus? Whereas much smaller micro nutrients have to pass through, therefore toxic chemicals also can. Like I said I’m not sure about this, need to research more.
    Finally I recommend all you doctors out there re- educate yourselves on Dr Edward Jenna and his work with smallpox, as he is generally referred to as the inventor of modern vaccination. It would appear that his method has been reversed and we vaccinate by injection and not by varolation as he did. In fact he did use an injection of live small pox virus to TEST his vaccine. This injection would have been 100% lethal to even the healthiest person, which is why he chose such a severe test. Lucky for his subject his hypothesis that cowpox immunity = smallpox immunity was indeed correct and his subject survived without any symptoms of smallpox. The practice of injecting vaccines makes no scientific sense, because it completely bypasses the immune system and delivers the virus into the general bloodstream. As this practically never happens naturally (except for snakebites), our immune systems are not evolved to deal with this situation. They are however very good at dealing with pathogens entering our nose mouth and skin, which happens all the time. because of this an injected vaccine would not even trigger an immune response unless it was a live vaccine, but these are too dangerous to use in this way, so we use a dead virus, and in order to get an immune response adjuvicants are added, these have to be neuro toxins of some kind, aluminum salts being the most common., they cause a catastrophic shock reaction of our immune system and eventually lead to auto-immune diseases, which were rare or non existent before modern vaccination. As you can see this method is fundamentally flawed and very harmful, not to mention utterly pointless, when the vaccine could be administered safely either orally, nasally or through the top layer of skin as in varolation as was the practice in Jenna’s day. In fact the only conceivable point to injecting vaccines at all, would be to make them as harmful as possible to our brain and nervous systems. Unfortunately as most all of us have had multiple vaccines, we are so lobotomized that few have the intelligence to figure this out.
    So here for what it’s worth is my conspiracy theory about the Zika virus. First off, like Ebola and other biological weapons developed during the cold war years, it has a patent #. So it is man made, but it is far from lethal, so why was it made? Well maybe because it spreads so quickly and can be introduced by releasing a few infected mosquitoes, quickly reaching epidemic proportions in tropical regions, but for what purpose? Well, scare tactics and as a cover for vaccine damage. You see, the real powers that be, have long wanted to reduce global population for environmental reasons. Also the Amazon rain forest is now being destroyed at such a rate that it has become the main cause of global warming. CO2 is absorbed by plants and converted to oxygen, so if CO2 levels increase plant growth does also, so mitigating the problem and keeping the atmosphere stable, but human population growth has prevented this natural balance system from operating because of the resulting deforestation. While carbon taxes were never intended to fix the problem (they are there to destroy what remains of the middle class and return their money to the elite) the real and final solution is depopulation, and vaccines are simply the most efficient, cost effective and insidious means to carry this out. What possible better solution could be devised to depopulate the Catholic Amazon region than the Zika scare, which will deter women from even having children. Now the Pope (who is in on the whole deal) has allowed the use of contraception, calling it the lesser evil. Meanwhile the DTap will continue to cause more birth defects which will continue to be blamed on the Zika virus. Add to this the massive increase in pesticide use, causing even more birth defects. Next will be the Zika vaccine, which will no doubt be engineered to sterilize all women and men. (Nonoxol-9 was used in the H1N1 vaccine). Expect to see a halving of the population in South America in the next 10 years.

  75. #78 Chris
    March 13, 2016

    The Wall of Text from “Mark in Germany” is full loony tunes.

    Mr. Salaman, please tell your friend “Mark in Germany” to move to the interior of Brazil and live off the economy there. Tell him to ignore any kind of protection from mosquitoes, and to definitely not get a yellow fever vaccine. Tell him to have fun.

    I say this as someone who spent two weeks in pain from dengue fever, also known as “bone break fever”, in Venezuela.

  76. #79 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    March 13, 2016

    @Joe Salaman – when you say

    The practice of injecting vaccines makes no scientific sense, because it completely bypasses the immune system and delivers the virus into the general bloodstream. As this practically never happens naturally (except for snakebites), our immune systems are not evolved to deal with this situation.

    Are you actually stating that the entire immune system is contained in the skin and mucous membranes? Do you believe that subcutaneous and intramuscular injections, which are are used in the vast majority of immunizations, put the vaccine directly “into the general bloodstream”? If so, how is this so different from Edward Jenna’s [sic] use of scratches to apply his vaccine, which clearly expose the blood? Do you really believe that modern vaccines are full potency viruses? And boy, it’s a good thing that nobody was ever cut or scratched before the modern era.

    Thanks.

  77. #80 Chris
    March 13, 2016

    I missed that gem because I just skimmed that wall of text.

    Obviously “Mark from Germany” and Joe Salaman have never ever encountered a mosquito, nor any other stinging insect. They can’t figure out how something that is so small can infect anyone. I just love it when people in Europe and North America pontificate about health issues in Africa and the interior of South America.

  78. #81 Narad
    March 13, 2016

    I missed that gem because I just skimmed that wall of text.

    I lost interest at “patent #”; I have better things to do today than explain all this yet again.

  79. #82 Chris
    March 13, 2016

    Especially since it quite clear the new troll did not even read the article at the top of the page.

  80. #83 herr doktor bimler
    March 13, 2016

    “Joe Salaman” seems like a lot of effort to be a parody troll, yet it is hard to believe that anyone could genuinely be so braindead as to claim that ” deliver[ing] the virus into the general bloodstream […] practically never happens naturally” in the context of a mosquito-spread virus.

    Note too the final prediction that a decline in birth-rate will somehow produce “a halving of the population in South America in the next 10 years.” Perhaps he believes that women just die, from biological superfluity, if they can’t have children.

    He seems to be real, however, hanging out at Age of Autism and GreenMedInfo, where his moronicity stands out less.

  81. #84 Gilbert
    March 13, 2016

    In comments to CNN, Oxitec’s Parry acknowledged that there was not full support from the Key Haven community, but noted that the scenario is common for public health interventions.

    “People don’t want to be guinea pigs,” Mier told CNN. “There has been no acceptance from community members. If the local and federal government fail to protect us and our wishes, our last option will be to trust the judicial system and bring it to the court. A legal battle is an option at this point.”

    http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/11/health/zika-florida-gmo-mosquito-fda-assessment/index.html

    So. A small town, — a town that has not had a single case of Dengue– of only 475 households is this testing ground.

    They may be perfectly harmless. The idea may work; male mosquitoes don’t bite. Nonetheless, The People are bowled over by an agenda, for better or worse.

    It sets a precedent; It hoists open a hatch. How long before mosquitoes are used as flying syringes for vaccines? How long before it all goes horribly wrong?

  82. #85 Chris
    March 13, 2016

    “It sets a precedent; It hoists open a hatch. How long before mosquitoes are used as flying syringes for vaccines?”

    It will be a very long time, mostly because male mosquitoes only consume flower nectar and plant juices. They don’t have eggs and therefore do not need a blood meal.

    Also, the mosquito that spreads dengue and zika is not a native to the Americas. Wiping it out would not be a bad thing.

  83. #86 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    March 13, 2016

    it is hard to believe that anyone could genuinely be so braindead as to claim that ” deliver[ing] the virus into the general bloodstream […] practically never happens naturally” in the context of a mosquito-spread virus.

    It should be obvious that people never* get bitten by mosquitoes.

    * Well, hardly ever.

  84. […] and found no evidence that the chemical interfered with human pregnancy or development. Similar rumors that vaccines or genetically modified mosquitoes caused Brazil’s microcephaly uptick simply lack any evidence, […]

  85. #88 Angela Eisenhauer
    Australia
    April 22, 2016

    Vaccine was produced under licence in Pernumbucco, was ready and started being used in May 2015, first babies born October 2015.

  86. #89 Angela Eisenhauer
    Albany Western Australia, first aP vaccine failures and wc outbreaks.
    April 22, 2016

    Whooping cough is a bacteria that colonises the throat, called pertussis.
    1. Near no pertussis Australia whole cell pertussis vaccine (wP) 1953-1995
    2. Change to aP vaccine 1996.
    3. Vaccination rate, all time high levels of over 90%
    4. First Major outbreaks begin 2010, when all first aP vaccinated show 100% failure rates of the vaccine.
    5. No one over age 12 catches the illness, in the outbreak in 2010, one has to assume the whole cell is still working in anyone who got vaccinated prior to 1996.
    6. WA Health Department discover those kids aged 6-12 who they test, during the outbreak in 2010, although showing no symptoms still had pertussis bacteria in their throats for up to 8 weeks, and were able to transmit this to others. These children had still working aP vaccine, which protected them, but did not stop them transmitting the bacteria.
    7. Studies prove that fully vaccinated, with no symptoms, who have not yet had pertussis themselves (when the vaccine fails), do in fact, still catch, carry and spread pertussis to infants, who are too young to be vaccinated..
    8. In an attempt to prevaccinated babies, USA recommends aP vaccine be given to all pregnant women in 2013. Rise from 5,000 microcephalic babies per year to over 25,000 per year.
    9. Introduce aP vaccination to all Brazilian pregnant women in May 2015, first babies born October, a rise to 12,000 babies per year with microcephaly, which is less than the present rate in USA.
    10. No zika in USA to blame, so how do CDC explain this rise in microcephaly?

  87. #90 MI Dawn
    April 22, 2016

    @Angela: Where on earth did you get your facts? Because just at a glance, I can see some. Starting with #10 – the US does have zika.

  88. #91 Chris
    April 22, 2016

    Ms. Eisenhauer, without any verifiable documentation for that series of random thoughts, we will assume you are just making it all up.

  89. #92 kfunk937
    April 22, 2016

    @Chris: Got it in one.

    It seems Angela has decamped disqus (both profiles, as well as 3 additional user names; see for instance this thread) for greener pastures.

    If I might venture a suggestion, DNFTT, unless floral arrangements are the topic. YMMV.

  90. #93 shay simmons
    looking out at the rain and procrastinating
    April 22, 2016

    Oh…THAT angela. Where is Mike Stevens when we need him?

  91. #94 JDK
    April 22, 2016

    Though it is very suggestive that Zika virus is found in association with microcephaly, it is not proof of a cause as pointed out earlier by our Fearless Leader. An example from the aquatic world: a salmon disease called HSMI (Heart and Skeletal Muscle Inflammation) is found associated with PRV (Piscine Reovirus) in Atlantic salmon in Norway. So PRV causes HSMI! But PRV is found in Atlantic salmon in other parts of their range and these fish do not exhibit HSMI. Experimental infection trials also fail to result in HSMI. So is the virus variable in its effects geographically? Is it coincidental to another causative agent? All currently under investigation. It could well be that Zika does turn out to be the agent responsible but detection in an endemic area is not that convincing.

  92. #95 herr doktor bimler
    April 22, 2016

    @Angela: Where on earth did you get your facts?

    She’s a copy-pasting pill-abuser whose “brain is in hyperdrive”, having a “brain and thinking explosion”:
    http://survivingantidepressants.org/index.php?/topic/7484-ang-help-and-confidence-needed/page-28#entry221361

  93. #96 squirrelelite
    far from Aedes Aegypti
    April 22, 2016

    Just FWIW, I did a quick lookup. Pertussis vaccines have been around since the 30’s, but the big drop in incidence has come since the introduction of the combined DTP in 1953. Incidence before that was 150 to 250 thousand per year from the 20’s through the 50’s in the US. It dropped to very low in the 60’s, but has seen a slight rise since the introduction of the acellular version.It’s difficult to tell if this is a true increase or due to more intense surveillance and more accurate detection methods.

    Protection effectiveness may be lower than the whole cell version, but 88% is far better than the 100% failure Angela mentioned.

    I also downloaded an Australian report. Notifications before the DTP were about 200 per 100,100 with a big fluctuation. But, there is a big gap in official statistics from 1950 to1980. Australia has also seen a recent rise in incidence.
    Some changes have been made in the schedule recommendations to try to maintain herd immunity, but getting a safer vaccine is not nearly as straight forward as the green vacccine movement pretend.

    In related news last week, the CDC has concluded there is a causal relationship between a Zika infection in pregnancy and micrcephaly.

    http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/s0413-zika-microcephaly.html

  94. #97 herr doktor bimler
    April 22, 2016

    Piscine Reovirus
    I thought he was the chairman of the RNC.

  95. #98 Rich Bly
    Ocean Shores, WA
    April 22, 2016

    #89
    Actual outbreak year was 2012 in WA.

  96. #99 Julian Frost
    South Africa
    April 22, 2016

    No one over age 12 catches the illness, in the outbreak in 2010, one has to assume the whole cell is still working in anyone who got vaccinated prior to 1996.

    False.

  97. #100 Still Shaking Mama
    April 22, 2016

    #99 – You bet it’s false. I had it in 2012 at the age of 42. Sickest I’ve ever been. I still have the rescue inhaler I was prescribed to treat the bronchospasms I started getting from all the coughing. No, I do not have asthma, or any other underlying conditions.

  98. #101 Denice Walter
    April 22, 2016

    @ herr doktor bimler:

    No, he’s that Blade Runner guy from South Africa who killed his girlfriend.

  99. #102 palindrom
    April 22, 2016

    hdb —

    I thought he was the chairman of the RNC.

    No, that’s the guy who Charlie Pierce always refers to as “Obvious anagram Reince Priebus, the emptiest suit in American politics”.

  100. #103 Liane Beauchamp
    Canada
    April 25, 2016

    I’m very disappointed, either by you or the “anti-vaccines cranks” as you call them. I’m not in either gang, let’s say I would only like to know facts and I don’t think you “dig” enough. For you, my question are these: How can you explain it’s related to Zika when it has been around for so many years in so many parts of the world? Also, you’re talking about pregnant women receiving the DTaP vaccine near the end of their pregnancy. But elsewhere, I read that they gave them at 22 weeks. What’s the truth? And remember, there’s sometimes a gap between what’s being told to do and what’s done in reality. Can you get reliable information about when these vaccines are given to pregnant women? And it’s a strange coincidence, don’t you think? That apart, I have an autoimmune disease and autoimmune diseases are on the rise (fact) and I read recently a scientific paper from an expert (Dr. Y Schoenfeld – one paper between plenty: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20708902) and this physician really warns against adjuvants put in vaccines. It’s not a matter of conspiracy or else. It’s a matter that more and more people are living a low life quality with a chronic condition. Actually, I have time to write you right now because I’m on a sick leave. Please just try to give better researched facts. Maybe we’re in a period where we have to choose between having a high probability of getting a chronic condition due to pollutants like adjuvants in vaccines (amongst other pollutants) OR being sick or very sick or even dying from an infectious disease if we don’t get the vaccines. Both issues are not nice at all, so, scientists, please keep working. But what is established and I think (not the only here) that the safety of adjuvants should be questioned. And another issue that is questionable is: they found the Zika virus in only 4 babies? And, for the babies who died, are all their mothers received the vaccine? At which week of pregnancy? And what else do these mothers and babies have in common? (food consumed etc.). I found no side convincing, but please, you should inquire more because many people would like to receive objective answers but now, I found there are a lot of “holes of information” in one side or the other. Liane Beauchamp, Medical information specialist

  101. #104 shay simmons
    April 25, 2016

    I read recently a scientific paper from an expert (Dr. Y Schoenfeld – one paper between plenty: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20708902)

    If you are a medical information specialist then you understand the importance of checking the reliability of your sources. The only reason Schoenfeld doesn’t have an entry in the Encyclopedia of American Loons is because he’s not American.

  102. #105 Chris
    April 25, 2016

    ” (Dr. Y Schoenfeld – one paper between plenty:”

    No one from list is a reputable researcher, just so you know:
    http://www.vaccinesafetyconference.com/speakers.html

    “Liane Beauchamp, Medical information specialist”

    Make sure you check that list, and http://americanloons.blogspot.com/ as part of your medical research. Otherwise, we will just figure you are not a real “information specialist.”

  103. #106 capnkrunch
    April 25, 2016

    Liane Beauchamp@103

    How can you explain it’s related to Zika when it has been around for so many years in so many parts of the world?

    How can you explain it’s Tdap* when so many doses have been given in so many parts of the world? Microencaphaly not being caused by zika doesn’t mean it’s caused by vaccines. There’s some compelling biological evidence that zika may cause it. The Tdap “hypothesis” fails even on prior plausibility simply based on timing, never mind biological plausibility.

    Shoenfeld… how on earth does that guy still retain any semblance of respectability? In my opinion he’s one the worst of the worst dishonest, ethics averse AV researchers.

    *not DTaP; funny that a medical information specialist would get that wrong. Maybe as Chris insinuates you are not a real medical information specialist after all.

  104. #107 Liane Beauchamp
    Canada
    April 25, 2016

    Nobody of you answered my questions and the only thing you’re able to say is nasty things. Sad. And for sure Shoenfeld is not American, what’s the problem with that? And if you read me correctly, I mentioned adjuvants as being of the pollutants. Many experts in different fields question the safety of vaccines adjuvants. You seem ignorant. But you are surely nasty and not nice people.

  105. #108 Alain
    April 25, 2016

    For you, my question are these: How can you explain it’s related to Zika when it has been around for so many years in so many parts of the world

    Liane, virus evolve, mutate. So is the human body. No more, no less and that is enough to cause an issue.

    About Shoenfeld and his acolytes, sure, there are opinion everywhere, backed by sound science or not so sound science which is why anyone with a modicum of critical thinking need to question all of the scientific results (and I do mean all) and come up with the most unbiased result possible. Shoenfeld is biased and he doesn’t do enough to put his bias away, same with Wakefield, Shaw, Sears and Gordon…among other.

    Bonne chance.

    Alain

  106. #109 Denice Walter
    April 25, 2016

    I wonder if Liane Beauchamp is the same LB who advertises for work as a babysitter, nanny, light housekeeper, pet care, swim supervisor, minor transport and errand runner whilst a part time university student in BC?

  107. #110 Alain
    April 25, 2016

    Liane,

    this is the mechanism by with virus mutate: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/mesh/68003227

    and associated scientific evidence:

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed?term=%22Conjugation%2C+Genetic%22%5BMesh%5D

    7697 publications might be a long read but then, I dissected around 2000 back in the summer 2007 for this work:

    http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpsyg.2010.00241/full

    I had to be rigorous.

    Alain

  108. #111 Chris
    April 25, 2016

    Liane: “Many experts in different fields question the safety of vaccines adjuvants.”

    And most of them attended that NVIC Vaccine Conference in Jamaica. None of them are qualified reputable “experts” in anything.

    “But you are surely nasty and not nice people.”

    If you think we are nasty, then get off the internet. You certainly do not know what actually happens out there that is even worse.

  109. #112 Narad
    April 26, 2016

    Liane, virus evolve, mutate.

    The last I checked, ZIKV mutation was pretty low on the list compared with virgin soil.

  110. #113 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    April 26, 2016

    @Liane Beauchamp

    How can you explain it’s related to Zika when it has been around for so many years in so many parts of the world?

    I don’t claim it’s Zika. I refer you to what Orac said, “the epidemiological link between Zika virus and microcephaly is not a slam dunk by any stretch of the is sufficient evidence for a connection to warn people, particularly due to the potential issues. There has been a lot of research in the last few months about this topic.

    Just to speculate, the reasons the connection is only being seen now could include:
    – The birth defects have been there all along, but nobody made the connection before. Zika was considered a mild disease and people weren’t looking for further issues. It was only when the range spread and an outbreak occurred that this was questioned.

    – The people in the areas where Zika has been endemic might have greater natural resistance than those in new areas. I don’t claim this to be true; however there are historical examples where diseases entered a new range and found populations that were more susceptible than in the original range.

    As I say, I’ve not made a study of this. If someone else has better answers, please chip in.

  111. #114 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    April 26, 2016

    I have an autoimmune disease and autoimmune diseases are on the rise (fact)

    First, I’m sorry about your autoimmune disease. If it is a fact that the incidence of autoimmune disorders is increasing, it doesn’t point to vaccine components as the cause. Indeed, one theory says that these problems are caused in part by staying too clean and insufficient exposure to bacteria, parasites, and dirt. If you want to point to vaccine components, please provide references to studies that show this.

  112. #115 Mephistopheles O'Brien
    April 26, 2016

    @Liane Beauchamp,

    By the way, telling you that a source is not considered credible is not being mean.

  113. #116 kfunk937
    April 26, 2016

    @Denice #109: This would be my guess, if she is indeed a medical librarian (maybe using a maiden name as a ‘nym, not that that is a good privacy protection strategy).

    “Medical information specialist” in this context is more alarming than “23-year-old nanny,” in my book. Retrieval specialist is more like it, but you know how titles (and self-image) tend to be both malleable and inflatable. D-K is surely a factor as well.

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