Fear is seldom served à la carte. Ignorance and propaganda round out the typical three course meal.
Contagions emerge periodically littering news feeds across the planet. If I were inclined towards conspiracy theories, perhaps I would attribute it to the government distracting us from important issues like xenophobia, racism, war, and tainted water supplies. It would seem the theatricality and deception gifted us in the form of ghastly political debates and the Super Bowl aren’t enough. We find ourselves in a brief interlude of calm between Star Wars and the deluge of superhero movies. Ebola is but a whisper these days, so, naturally a new illness seems apropos—just to continue in the conspiracy theorist vain.
A warning to the reader: Prepare to sanitize, scrub, and clean all the surfaces, not just of one’s body, but also the bodies of others. The disease we now encounter has slaughtered zero humans on record. This may be difficult to bear for those with a pathological fear of germs. Nonetheless, what the reader may encounter in the following might incite bedlam or genocidal thoughts and tendencies towards the vector of this contagion. I caution the reader that such misbegotten thoughts ought to be shunned; bedlam and genocide are not desirable. Ever.
Beware the Zika virus! Millions of these wee beasties travel aboard mosquitoes and besiege those living in equatorial mosquito territories. Being a relative of yellow fever, dengue, and West Nile, I can understand why Zika virus could be alarming. And I may not have been completely honest about zero humans slaughtered. A few days ago, the Colombian Health Minister implicated Zika virus with three deaths. Couple this with reports of a possible association between Zika virus and fetal brain abnormalities in Brazil, and dinner is served.
However, utilizing our highly evolved cerebral capabilities—as we all should—seasoned with a dash of skepticism, and an insatiable hunger for knowledge, one would discover that this virus dishonors its mighty brethren.
According to the CDC:
- About 1 in 5 people infected with Zika virus become ill (i.e. develop Zika)
- The most common symptoms of Zika are fever, rash, joint pain, or conjunctivitis…
- The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting for several days to a week.
- People usually don’t get sick enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika.
- Zika virus usually remains in the blood of an infected person for about a week…
I’m not a public health professional, but this doesn’t elicit even a modicum of concern within me. On the other hand, lead in the water supply and the egregious actions by state employees does. Save for the fringe cases, no definitive evidence exists to make brazen (let alone conservative) claims related to morbidity or mortality in regard to the Zika virus. Even the CDC has hedged their bets on Zika virus. In regard to the association of Zika virus and fetal brain abnormalities:
“Additional studies are needed to further characterize this relationship… Until more is known, CDC recommends special precautions for pregnant women and women trying to become pregnant.”
Yes, even in spite of insistence by Brazilian and Colombian health officials of causality. Don’t worry my dear readers, ludicrous claims and actions aren’t exclusive to health officials. A few presidential candidates are disturbingly eager to quarantine people infected with Zika virus. It’s Ebola all over again. At least Ebola was a serious and substantiated threat.
It’s frustrating to see articles spewing the same misleading claims about health time and again. My posts are a small defense against this huge barrage of ignorance. Or at least it tries to be. With only fifty cases of Zika virus arriving in United States since 2007, I appeal to the good judgment of the readers. Is the government out to deceive us? If so, why? Are we too inured by their falsehoods to care? Or are the news and media outlets to blame for the dissemination of bullshit? Do we allow ourselves to live in fear at the behest of propagandist news and paltry evidence? Do we not owe it to ourselves to become educated and informed and share that knowledge with others? Or shall we dine?