Zika, Conspiracies and Churches

Aedes

That echo chamber for bullshit called the Internet is generating so much Utter, Utter Bollocks (μ²B) about the Zika virus that I’m having trouble keeping up with it all. Apparently the Rothschilds, Bill Gates, Big Pharma and the New World Order have all had a hand in cooking this all up. And Monsanto too, obvs.

So click away to take a look at some of the claims…

The Microcephaly Link
It's Been Released to Kill Off the Poor / Brown People / Insert Minority Here
It was created in a lab so Big Pharma can make money with a cure
Vaccines, innit...
The Rockefellers / Rothschilds invented it
Bill Gates's Genetically-Engineered Mosquitoes
The Catholic Church is behind it
What We DO Know

The data thus far are that this is a mild illness that will almost certainly spread and there might be a correlation with microcephaly in babies born to infected mothers. Might. We just don’t have the data yet. And correlation is not causation.

But despite the low risk and that any mechanism for a causal link between Zika and birth defects has yet to be proposed (let alone proven) the panic Zika is causing is immense. It has some parallels with Ebola in that the fear it is causing is disproportionate to the risk (Zika can and possibly will spread rapidly but isn’t life-threatening, Ebola is truly horrible but the rapid death it usually brings is one of the many reasons militating against its potential to cause a pandemic).

But nature abhors a vacuum and the influence of the church on the panic Zika is provoking should not be understated. In countries such as Brazil the conspiracy theory nutters on the internet will not have as significant an influence on people’s perceptions and behaviours  as will the medieval superstition spouting from every pulpit.

And let’s face it, the Catholic Church does not have a good record when its entrenched hatred of women and gays manifests itself in matters involving disease or sex. I’ve written before about crazy vaccination bans by African Bishops and other horrors, but don’t forget the impact of the church’s long-held antipathy to condoms and the spread of HIV/AIDS, especially in Africa.

Add to that the church’s horror of menstrual blood, collectivization of guilt aimed at Eve and by extension all women, its disgusted fascination with men who have sex with men (unsurprising given so many of them seem to have joined the clergy) so I for one can’t see much enlightenment on the horizon for Zika, certainly in Latin America.

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9 thoughts on “Zika, Conspiracies and Churches

  1. Ah, never fear, Quarantine Christie is here to quarantine anyone who travels anywhere he can get political capital from, rather than perform his duties as governor and calm the populace over the latest press fueled flames of idiocy.
    We’ve relocated around 20 miles from the Texas border. We’ve already had crane flies mating, so it’s obviously warming up.
    When I heard of sexual transmission of Zika virus in Texas, my thought was, “Unsurprising, testes are immune privileged”. It takes time to clear virus from an immune privileged area, be it the brain, eyes, testes or other possible immune privileged areas. Why that surprised physicians is beyond me, as immune privilege is a well known and needed phenomena.
    But, alarming is not what Zika virus is, any more than West Nile and the dire predictions made when it rapidly spread across the United States. Mosquito abatement is highly effective and even more effective with some novel approaches used in other nations. Insect repellent is effective, we can and do afford clothing with long sleeves and the infection is typically not that severe.
    Meanwhile, people are losing their ever-loving minds, forgetting that turning an egg cell into a pee, poop and puke factory is a complex process and things all too often go wrong, typically resulting in a spontaneous abortion (miscarriage).
    Finally, as you said, correlation is not causation. Correlation is, “Gee, that’s interesting, I wonder if it actually is related” and one studies to see if it is related. It’s a start for research and as we all know, a *lot* of research never pans out. Regrettably, the press seized upon the observed minor correlation and trumpeted it to the heavens.
    Gotta sell their news product, thereby selling more commercials.

    Oh, there’s a new one going around, the GM mosquitoes that were released in Africa magically got tetracycline from agricultural runoff and failed to die, thereby transmitting Zika.
    That the mosquitoes were male is irrelevant, obviously some females were mixed in and magic.
    Or something.
    Dunning-Kruger effects meets both paranoid schizophrenics and foreign agitators. What a mix!

    • Ahhhh! I hadn’t considered immune privilege! While I have a journeyman’s appreciation of immunology I’m a simple microbiologist and immunology makes my head hurt.
      Thank you.

  2. Your posts are improving, spare the bombastic sentiments please in order to remove bias and restore objectivity to your service. Global warming is accelerating the spread of all insect bourne diseases as you should more strongly emphasize. b.

    • Bombast and bias are my two best friends. Please remember the only dubious service I provide is to myself – if I don’t rant on the internet I spend the mornings drinking gin and the afternoons swearing at strangers.
      The evenings are a bit of a blur, frankly.
      Anyway, the reason I didn’t mention anthropomorphic climate change is current models suggest this will cause a contraction in Aedes distribution.
      Which is a bit counterintuitive given what’s happening with Anopheles and other genera. See http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/24893017/ – it’s v interesting. Not my area of dubious expertise but it’s an interesting notion that not all species will radiate on the back of increased temperatures. It certainly surprised me.

  3. Actually, a fair amount of contraction would be secondary to desertification removing breeding grounds.
    The downside is, of course, the loss of farm land and new inland ocean front property. Tis a pity that we’re selling our house south of Philly, due to relocation. Could’ve held off and had beach front property in a century. 😉

    My best friends are hyperbole to the absurd and argumentum ad absurdium, designed to undermine a Dunning-Kruger borne argument. 😉
    Whiskey’s for the nightcap, so that my osteoarthritis doesn’t awaken me repeatedly.
    Perhaps four months shy of 28 year military career was a bit excessive.

  4. I’m only a retired special forces medic, with plenty of additional training back when I was still wearing tree appearing clothing (OK, not really tree looking, lowest bidder camouflage).
    Having ran clinics in remote hamlets in the more unfortunate areas of the world, witnessing polio and measles fill far too many graves, let’s suffice it to say that I’m rather militant about public health and vaccinations.

  5. Brilliant; ” In January 2016, the Brazilian Association for Collective Health (Portuguese: Associação Brasileira de Saúde Coletiva, Abrasco) criticized the introduction of pyriproxyfen in Brazil, claiming that its teratogenic and endocrine disrupting effects should not be allowed in drinking water given the context of an ongoing fetal malformation outbreak, and demanded the “immediate suspension [in the use of] of pyriproxyfen and all growth inhibitors … in drinking water”.”

    What next? Feed the larvae?
    Oh wait, I know. As its precursor is explosive and hydrogen is explosive and oxygen can cause fires, water and Pyriproxyfen are banned from usage or even from being in the country. Can’t let the dangerous precursors be together.
    Of course, actually banning water, if they could actually achieve that, would eliminate mosquito larvae.

  6. Oops, I forgot to mention, it’s one Brazilian state. The US has had states that banned dihydrogen monoxide and hydrogen monoxide. Hyroxic acid remains legal in those states. Some communities banned hydrol, but not a single entity has yet to ban μ-Oxido dihydrogen, likely because politicians can’t pronounce it.
    For those chemically challenged, those are all various chemical names for water.
    And yes, I’m serious, those chemical names have been banned, claiming toxicity of the solvent most commonly known as water, courtesy of pandering and ignorance.

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