Are They Suffering Zika and Wolbachia Infections?

North Atlantic Right Whales
Credit: Photo: Public Domain | Text by RoseWrites

Wolbachia is like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

I was gobsmacked to discover last year that safety tests prior to Wolbachia-infected mosquito releases was only carried out spiders, spider eggs, soil samples, plant leaves, plant roots, earthworms, and millipedes (in Australia).

There are many species that feed preferentially upon Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, eggs, and/or larvae.

And Wolbachia isn't some harmless bacteria (although it's been touted as such). Sure, it's natural, but so is snake venom. It's a double-walled, reproductive parasite that has enormous influence over its host.

"Both Wolbachia and host mitochondria are maternally transmitted and subsequently can be co-inherited by the offspring ... Previous studies have documented the role of Wolbachia in driving dramatic changes within host populations ... excessive infection intensity may result in pathology, resulting in negative effects upon host fitness ..."[1]

North Atlantic right whales [Public Domain] and Phylogenetic Clade by RoseWrites
Credit: Photo of whales: Public Domain | Little Greenbul by Ettore Balocchi (CC-by-2.0) Clade by RoseWrites

What You Aren't Being Told:

Culex are ZIKV vectors; Birds have Zika

If you delve deeply into the Zika research, you'll soon discover that there is a huge divide within the scientific community:

Those who have proven the potential for Culex spp. to be vectors of Zika and those who ignore or dismiss the evidence.

Why Culex Matters: 

Culex have a sylvatic cycle with birds

Sadly, it appears that only Canadian medical entomologist, Dr. Fiona Hunter (and I) have recognized the Okia et al. 1971 study which found that almost 1/2 of bulbuls tested had Zika.

Whales have been infected (and died rather quickly) from WNV and SLEV infections.[2][3]

And it's crucial to understand that birds may be reservoir and amplifying hosts of Zika (as they are with West Nile virus). In fact, a bird can amplify West Nile virus a billion times more than a human host can. One bird can infect literally 100s of mosquitoes.

Below are screenshots from Dr. Hunter's report, Linking Only Aedes aegypti with Zika Virus Has World-Wide Public Health Implications[4] which also highlights the phylogenetic relationship Zika has with West Nile and St. Louis encephalitis viruses and the Okia et al. study results.

Over 97 Percent Nodal Support for ZIKV + SLE + WNV

Zika'z phylogenetic relationship with Culex-associated viruses WNV and SLEV
Credit: Linking Only Aedes aegypti with Zika Virus Has World-Wide Public Health Implications by Fiona F. Hunter [CC-by-4.0]

The Forgotten Paper by Okia et al. (1971)

Zika may be more like "Culex-associated" flaviviruses

Zika clearly related to Culex-associated flaviviruses and the forgotten paper by Okia et al. (1971)
Credit: Linking Only Aedes aegypti with Zika Virus Has World-Wide Public Health Implications by Fiona F. Hunter [CC-by-4.0]

My Theory is Two-Fold: Infected Culex & Cal fin

I believe Wolbachia-infected Aedes eggs and larvae in the waters of southeastern U.S. and areas around northeastern Brazil (and wherever right whales "winter") are the problem. 
 
When Culex mosquitoes naturally acquire Wolbachia — and there are multiple ways this can happen — they were better vectors of West Nile virus and malaria.[5][6]
 
North Atlantic right whales have been spotted as far south as the Bahamas and Mexico.[7] And it appears to be a mystery where they spend the winter and where they mate.[8]
 
Three species of Culex were found to be Zika vectors in Mexico, including Culex tarsalis.[9]
 
The 2014 study Wolbachia Enhances West Nile Virus (WNV) Infection in the Mosquito Culex tarsalis[5] clearly states:
 
"Few studies have investigated the effect of Wolbachia on pathogen transmission by Culex mosquitoes, despite the fact they transmit viruses impacting human health."
 
"Culex tarsalis is a mosquito species associated with agriculture and urban areas in the western United States and is highly competent for West Nile virus (WNV), St. Louis encephalitis virus (SLEV) and western equine encephalitis virus (WEEV)." 
 

"Culex tarsalis are naturally uninfected with Wolbachia."

 

 

Bulbuls in Florida & Texas Might Be Amplifying ZIKV

And 1/3 of Calanus finmarchicus contains Aedes aegypti

North Atlantic Right Whales Around Gulf of Mexico
Credit: ©2017 Rose Webster (aka RoseWrites). All rights reserved. Images traced: Public Domain

Cal fin and krill have Wolbachia for 5 to 7 years

The study Suppression subtractive hybridization library prepared from the copepod Calanus finmarchicus exposed to a sublethal mixture of environmental stressors by Hansen et al. 2007 clearly states:

"The majority of the most similar matches when performing BLAST-X on arthropod sequences were found in insects (87.8%), and by far the most common species were yellow fever mosquito Aedes aegypti (33.3%), honey bee Apis mellifera (15.9%), red flour beetle Tribolium castaneum (15.9%), fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster (10.6%) and domestic silkworm Bombyx mori (4.8%)."[10]

North Atlantic right whales feed mostly on copepods and krill larvae. About 1,000 - 2,500 kg (2,200 - 5,500 lb) may be consumed per day.[7]

Right whales feed on calanoid copepods and other small invertebrates (smaller copepods, krill, pteropods, and larval barnacles) by slowly skimming through patches of concentrated patches at or below the surface.[11]

The most common prey species is the

copepod Calanus finmarchicus (Perry et al. 1999).

The study Antarctic Krill 454 Pyrosequencing Reveals Chaperone and Stress Transcriptome by Clark et al. 2011 states:

"Further analysis of the BLAST results indicated that this sequence is actually more similar to TRAP1 (Tumour Necrosis Factor (TNF) Receptor-Associated Protein 1) or HSP75, even though some of the database matches have been designated as HSP90 (Aedes aegypti and Culex quiquifasciatus [sic]). This example demonstrates some of the confusion over the naming of these genes ..."[12]

My point: Aedes aegypti is mentioned, plus Culex quinquefasciatus (both are ZIKV vectors too).

 

ADDENDUM: September 24th, 2017

My Misinterpretation of BLAST Does NOT Negate My Theory Though

I am sorry, the above BLAST studies are something I have misinterpreted. From my understanding of how many insects are studied, they get mashed up and stomach contents (along with everything else) gets "matched" to known genetic values.

But, North Atlantic right whales are opportunistic filter feeders. They happen to prefer Calanus finmarchicus (aka Cal fin). And one source even stated:

"Known as extreme opportunistic feeders, right whales primarily feed on zooplankton, smaller crustaceans called copepods, krill, and pteropods."[20]

Since "microplastics have accumulated far from population centers" (Obbard et al. 2014),[15] it seems beyond foolish to continue the mantra that North Atlantic right whales will not be exposed to and infected by both Wolbachia and Zika (or another encephalitis virus).

Calanus finmarchicus is omnivorous[16][17] and actually "takes in" water at both ends. North Atlantic right whales "can drink salt water but are thought to get the bulk of the water they need from their prey. As the whale processes the prey, it extracts water."[18]

The book: The Biology of a Marine Copepod: Calanus finmarchicus (Gunnerus) states on page 122:
 
"Fox (1952) discussed the oral and anal uptake of water and comes to the conclusion it is not respiratory ... reversed anal peristalsis causes an uptake of water."
 
Calanus finmarchicus may adapt to increasing water temperatures resulting from global warming by slowly shifting its distribution northward to remain in suitable temperatures.[19] Note the word: "SLOWLY" shifting its distribution northward.
 
I believe vertebrates are becoming infected with Wolbachia and it's applicable to baleen whales, some birds, shorebirds, and even humans. Recent notable findings that support my theory: 
 
1) "Aerial insectivores fell 51 per cent, and shorebird populations declined by 43 per cent, even as waterfowl and birds of prey increased."[21]
 
2) Sperm counts have declined by more than half for Western men. "Even though we did not study the causes, it's clearly not genetic causes," Levine said. "It must be the change in the modern lifestyle and the environment that we live."[22]
 
Worth repeating: the environment that we live.
 
The study assessing the safety of Wolbachia-infected Aedes releases clearly states:
 
"The different samples collected were meant to represent a full variety of species or "environment" in which Wolbachia could have disseminated. Samples comprised soil samples, plant leaves and roots, earthworms and millipedes, all collected from inside the enclosure."[23]
 
Shocking (to me) is they did not test: birds, bats, Culex mosquitoes, planktivorous fish and other aquatic species.
 
But who funded it? "Financial support: FNIH/Grand Challenges in Global Health Initiative/Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation/NHMRC."
 
The recent string of deaths in North Atlantic right whales could provide crucial proof to stop these releases and hold those responsible accountable (the richest people in the world).
 
Please read, sign, and share my (our) petition. We have over 550 signatures (as of Sept. 24, 2017).[24]

Global Sites of Wolbachia-Infected Aedes Releases

Global Sites of Wolbachia-Infected Aedes Male Releases
Credit: © 2017 Rose Webster (aka RoseWrites). Ask me about reuse.

Wonder who is funding Wolbachia-infected Aedes Males?

Some pretty deep pockets that have the $$$ to try and rectify it:

Richest people on the planet are funding Wolbachia-infected Aedes male releases
Credit: Screenshot of Eliminate Dengue's page about "Funding" [Fair Use]

Estimated Global Distribution Range of ZIKV Vectors

Culex tarsalis has also been reported in western Africa

Global distribution range of Zika vectors
Credit: ©2016 Rose Webster (aka RoseWrites). Ask me about reuse.

"Introduced" Red-Whiskered & Red-Vented Bulbuls

are established where the worst cases of Zika have been reported:

Where bulbuls are located is where the worst Zika cases have been
Credit: ©2017 Rose Webster (aka RoseWrites). All rights reserved.

Tests to Conduct on North Atlantic Right Whales

The book Immunology, Inflammation and Diseases of the Eye by E. Pearlman and K. Gentil (on page 91) states: 

Wolbachia "is most numerous in the mammalian host compared with the insect stage ... Elevated Wolbachia DNA and even intact Wolbachia are detected in the blood."

Further along, it states:

"within 7 days in the mammalian host, bacteria numbers increased 600-fold." 

Therefore, it would be fairly easy to add Wolbachia to serologic testing. 

As for Zika, West Nile or St. Louis encephalitis: 

Store fresh tissues at -80 C, fixed in 10 percent buffered formalin and stained with hematoxylin and eosin. 

Using total RNA extracted from brain tissue, analyze and confirm the microarray results. Perform immunohistochemical staining on brain tissue. 

NB: For ZIKV, the Lanciotti E-, the Pyke E- and NS1-, the Bonn E- and the Bonn NS1-based assays are highly sensitive for the Asian Zika virus lineage and show few mismatches within genomic domains targeted by these assays.[13]

Credit: ©2017 Rose Webster (aka RoseWrites). All rights reserved.

Easier, Faster, Safer, More Reliable Test

Rapid Bilateral Intraocular Cocktail Sampling Method

Last year, I stumbled upon this YouTube video (scroll to 1:18 mark) which shows how much easier, safer, and faster it is to test for West Nile by extracting eye fluid. I am fairly certain that Zika could be tested more easily via the same way in whales (with a much larger needle).

The paper Rapid Bilateral Intraocular Cocktail Sampling Method for West Nile Virus Detection in Dead Corvids[14] by Arleen K. Lim, Gundula Dunne, and Nikos Gurfield goes into detail about how to do it.

San Diego County's New WNV Test for Birds

The rapid bilateral intraocular cocktail sampling method replaces the more expensive and time-consuming method of extracting internal organs:

North Atlantic Right Whale Deaths:

Culex + Zika + Wolbachia? by Rose Webster

Tests For North Atlantic Right Whales | Is Roy Kirk a shill?

by Rose Webster (Published on August 14th, 2017)