WHO is Running the CDC Now? PBS and Bill Gates?

Sid the Science Kid and Sign at CDC
Credit: Photos found on flickr and all CC-by-2.0: Sid the Science Kid by NASA Goddard; Money by Refracted Moments; and CDC sign by Raed Mansour. Talk bubbles and text by RoseWrites, created February 18th, 2017.

When Did the CDC Forget Their Job is Disease Control and Prevention?

Why would over $800,000 be sunk into a kids show when the money could be better spent on researching Zika in Culex, Wolbachia, and birds?
Independent research teams have proven Culex to be ZIKV vectors.[1] Yet the WHO and CDC are ignoring the warnings from numerous scientists, namely: Drs. Ayres, Hunter, Guedes, Guo et al., and just recently, Evans et al.
On February 6th, 2017, over a year after Dr. Ayres warned the WHO about Culex quinquefasciatus, Evans et al. published Data-driven identification of potential Zika virus vectors.[2] Their study clearly states:
"... thirty-five species may be able to transmit the virus, seven of which are found in the continental United States, including Culex quinquefasciatus and Cx. pipiens. We suggest that empirical studies prioritize these species ..."[2]

The CDC is Negotiating a Near-Million Dollar Deal

With The Jim Henson Company: PBS's Sid the Science Kid

According to numerous media sources, the CDC is negotiating a near-million dollar deal with The Jim Henson Company to produce a cartoon featuring Sid the Science Kid warning preschoolers about Zika.[3][4][5]

Yeah. Think about that for a minute.

Wouldn't that money be better spent on informing southeast Asia that the Culex genus of mosquitoes are also Zika vectors and throw some money their way?

And if you think that Culex quinquefasciatus and Culex pipiens are some obscure genus of mosquito, take a peek at their global range:

For Over a Year, Scientists Warned the WHO & CDC

About Culex Quinquefasciatus (Purple) and Culex Pipiens (Red)

Global Range of Zika Vectors Culex quinquefasciatus and Culex pipiens
Credit: Map of the predicted distribution of Aedes aegypti in 2015 [Public Domain]. Culex mosquito ranges were hand-drawn by me, RoseWrites, on October 13th, 2016.

Facts About Culex That the World Needs to Know

The Culex quinquefasciatus mosquito is 20 times more common than the Aedes aegypti.[6]
Dr. Ayres was the first to find evidence of Zika virus in Culex mosquitos collected outdoors; her team had collected almost 500 mosquitos with 85 percent being Culex.[6]

Culex transmit West Nile virus and St Louis encephalitis virus.[7] And both Drs. Ayres and Hunter reminded everyone at the Zika Symposium at 2016 International Congress of Entomology that Zika is more related to the viruses transmitted by Culex.[8]

When I corresponded with Dr. Fiona Hunter, Canadian medical and veterinary entomologist, in November 2016, she wrote:
"I am hoping to get a colony of Cx. quinquefasciatus to test ... but that will not happen until next year."
"My gut feeling is that there are so many Zika-strain and mosquito-strain combinations possible that it will not be easy to unravel the identity of major vectors for quite some time; furthermore, it is likely going to be different in different geographic areas."

Drs. Ayres and Hunter Presented Strong Evidence

Clearly, Zika is More Related to Culex-Associated Viruses

Dr. Hunter Presenting at the Zika Symposium at 2016 International Congress of Entomology
Credit: Screenshot of Zika Symposium at 2016 International Congress of Entomology [Fair Use]

More Facts About Culex Everyone Needs to Know

Aedes aegypti bites during the day, breeds in clean water, and prefers urban environments, Culex quinquefasciatus is a night-biter that thrives in dirty water and rural environments.
Dr. Grayson Brown, public health entomologist at the University of Kentucky, told Toronto Star reporter Jennifer Yang in July 2016:

"[Culex quinquefasciatus] is very common in the southeastern United States. These mosquitoes are also up in the trees, whereas the Aedes mosquito is down in the bushes during the day. So control measures that are targeted against Aedes aren’t going to effect the Culex and vice versa."[9]

Brown said many people consider the two Culex mosquitoes [Culex quinquefasciatus and Culex pipiens] part of the same subspecies, however, and "there’s no pathogen that’s transmitted by just one and not by the other."[9]

He added, "Culex is a harder mosquito to control (than Aedes). West Nile, once it got here, it went across the continent in three years."[9]

A Handy Comparison Chart of Culex Versus Aedes

Comparing Culex Pipiens and Aedes Aegypti
Credit: Created by RoseWrites Oct. 10th, 2016. Reuse granted with proper credit and link.

Culex Transmit Nematodes Which Emit Wolbachia

A Worrisome Combination? Wolbachia and Zika in Culex

I've covered the prospect that Zika could be working in tandem with Wolbachia (behaving like a bacteriophage) in previous articles.

The most alarming findings — which fell on the deaf ears of Dr. Aileen M. Marty — a member of  WHO's Advisory Group on Mass Gatherings, Risk Assessments, Command & Control, EID (Emerging Infectious Diseases):

"Wolbachia enhanced rather than inhibited WNV [West Nile virus] infection."[7]

And the study called Wolbachia Increases Susceptibility to Plasmodium Infection in a Natural System concluded:

"These results suggest that naturally Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes may, in fact, be better vectors of malaria than Wolbachia-free ones."[10]

Even Worse: Wolbachia and Zika in Bulbuls

Almost 1/2 of Little Greenbuls (Eurillas virens) had Zika

Depiction of Viral Particles in Humans and Birds
Credit: ©2017 Rose Webster (aka RoseWrites on InfoBarrel). Based on West Nile Virus FAQ Graphic by Shannon E. Greene and Ann Reid of the American Academy of Microbiology

Bulbuls: Reservoir Hosts of ZIKV in Previous Outbreaks?

When about 70 percent of Yap Island’s population of 7,300 was infected with the Zika virus in 2007, there was no evidence of Aedes aegypti as a culprit.
"Aedes aegypti is very rare on most of the islands and is completely absent from the islands where the vast majority of cases of Zika occurred, " noted Dr. Ayres.
So, she contacted researchers in that area to identify which mosquito species was most abundant there. Their answer: Culex quinquefasciatus (which had not been investigated as a vector of the Zika virus).
On February 4th, 2016 (over a year ago), Dr. Constância F. J. Ayres published "Identification of Zika virus vectors and implications for control" in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.[11] Dr. Ayres wrote to alert the World Health Organization (WHO) and the entire scientific community:
"... this issue deserves urgent attention. Vector control strategies must be directed at all potential vectors. To assume that the main vector is Aedes aegypti in areas in which other mosquito species coexist is naive, and could be catastrophic if other species are found to have important roles in Zika virus transmission."[11]
When I researched bulbuls in these regions, this is what I discovered:
According to Avibase - Bird Checklists of the World, in French Polynesia the only bird in the Pycnonotidae family found there is the Red-vented bulbul (Pycnonotus cafer), an introduced species.[12]
Likewise, Avibase states the only bird in the Pycnonotidae family found in Micronesia is the Red-vented bulbul (Pycnonotus cafer), an introduced species.[13]
And surprising (to me), is the distance between French Polynesia and Micronesia. 

Almost 4,000 Miles: 6,366 km is Equal to 3,956 Miles

Google Map Distance of Micronesia to French Polynesia
Credit: Screenshot of Google Map Distance Between Micronesia and French Polynesia [Fair Use]

Red-Vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus cafer) in Sri Lanka

Red-vented Bulbul as spotted in Colombo Sri Lanka
Credit: By Mayooresan (Own work) [CC0] Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Lots of Cross-Breeding Occurs With Bulbuls

According to the study Red-whiskered Bulbul: are trapping and unsustainable avicultural practices pushing this species towards extinction in Thailand?[14] by Techachoochert and Round, 2013:

Most Thai provinces have Red-whiskered Bulbul clubs. There are over 100 clubs nationwide (K. Dumnoen pers. comm. July 2013).

"One of these clubs claims more than 50,000 members, each of whom was estimated by the club's director to own at least 5–10 birds, with some having 30 or more birds. The Thai captive population of Red-whiskered Bulbuls therefore now probably numbers in the millions."[14]

There is also "widespread practice of cross-breeding Red-whiskered Bulbuls with Yellow-vented Bulbuls" and "published records of Red-whiskered Bulbuls hybridising in captivity with Red-vented Bulbul P. cafer, White-eared Bulbul P. leucotis, White-spectacled Bulbul P. xanthopygos, Black-crested Bulbul P. melanicterus (McCarthy 2006) and Himalayan Bulbul P. leucogenys (Law 1921)."[14]

The study authors added, "Red-whiskered Bulbuls are also sometimes cross-bred with Stripe-throated Bulbuls P. finlaysoni and with Black-crested Bulbuls for ornamental purposes."[14]

Upon a quick Google search of "bulbul singing competitions" I learned:

"As many as 720 singing red-whiskered Bulbuls, Nok Pa Rod Jook in Thai, are expected to take part, coming from all over Thailand to do so. Some birds are caught in the forest; those that are bought cost anywhere from 1,000 to one million baht."[15]

Obviously those birds caught in the forest would be exposed to Culex mosquitoes (which prefer to feed on birds).

Local Pastime in Pakistan: Children Play With Bulbuls

So While Kids in Rich Countries Watch a Cartoon

Children and Adults are Playing With and Raising Bulbuls

I cannot fathom how the WHO and CDC can ignore ethical scientists for over a year.

Once the Culex genus of mosquitoes was determined to carry Zika, the no-brainer decision should follow: look for Zika in birds (who might be amplifying the virus a billion times). A single "super amplifier" bird can infect 100s of mosquitoes.

In fact, in 1971, Okia et al. discovered that almost half of Little greenbuls had Zika. Over decades, this number would only increase. In fact, over 300 species of birds carry West Nile virus[16] (very related to Zika).

So, if The Jim Henson Company might find it in their heart to throw some money towards the researchers I've mentioned: Drs. Ayres, Hunter, Guedes, Guo et al., and Evans et al., perhaps we can protect the most vulnerable people in the world.

"The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world." ~ Dr. Paul Farmer

Ways to Help Stop the Spread of the Zika Virus

Press your local politicians, health departments, mosquito control boards, and others to test Culex mosquitoes for Zika (they already do for West Nile virus). Mosquito control efforts should include Culex.

Report any dead birds (do not handle them without gloves) and ask that they be tested for Zika as well.

If you are aware of any pet bulbuls, inform the owner (or pet store) that they could be reservoir hosts of Zika and should be tested, kept indoors, and away from mosquitoes at all times. 

Red-whiskered bulbuls have been introduced in Australia (New South Wales) and are found in suburban Melbourne and Adelaide (although it is unclear how they got there).

They have been introduced in Los Angeles, Mauritius, Hawaii, Assumption Island, and Mascarene Islands. It's found in Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Singapore, United Emirates, Hong Kong, Taiwan, southeast Asia (China, Pakistan, and India) and probably other places.

Share this article. Ask questions. Write to the CDC and The Jim Henson Company and express your concerns at:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

1600 Clifton Road, Atlanta, GA 30329 USA

800-CDC-INFO | (800-232-4636) | TTY: (888) 232-6348

Contact Form: https://wwwn.cdc.gov/dcs/ContactUs/Form

The Jim Henson Company

1416 North La Brea Ave

Hollywood, CA 90028

(323) 802-1500


Zika: Let's Stop a Global Pandemic Collection

I created a collection on Zazzle with 100 products (so far) that educate and promote the prevention of the spread of Zika. Every item purchased will help fund ethical Zika research. You can even customize most of the products with your own logo, artwork, image and/or text.[18]

I also have a devoted Facebook page called Zika: Let's Stop a Global Pandemic where you can keep up-to-date on the latest findings from the scientific community (not just mainstream media).[19]

Author's note: All of my citations have a clickable link to their source. The list is found in the bibliography at the end of this page. 


Important Related Articles About the Zika Virus

Why We Need to Investigate Wolbachia-Infected Mosquito Releases

Zika Shrivels Testes, Drops Testosterone, and May Cause Infertility

Safe Mosquito Eradication That Works: Using Coffee, Bti, Rubbing Alcohol, and a Cat