WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan
Blamed Mosquito Control Efforts in Southeast Asia
WHO Ignored Culex
Now Blames Countries
I was disgusted by what Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) said in her address at a recent Western Pacific regional meeting.
Since February 2016, the WHO has been alerted by numerous scientists that Culex are also likely vectors of the Zika virus.
But it took until the fall of 2016 for the WHO to acknowledge this on their site under a tab that must be clicked on to be read.
In her speech on October 10th, 2016 in Manila, Philippines, Dr. Chan included these questions and a statement:
"Why did the first signal that the virus is present in some of your countries come from travellers whose Zika infection was confirmed once they got home? Are they sentinels?
Is this weak surveillance, an indication of population-wide immunity, or proof that the virus has somehow acquired greater epidemic potential?
I wish we knew."
Based on the responses I received from Dr. Aileen M. Marty, a member of WHO's Advisory Group on Mass Gatherings, Risk Assessments, Command & Control, EID (Emerging Infectious Diseases), I'd say the WHO does know.
Why are Zika and WNV
Similarities Being Dismissed?
Dr. Robert Haley, Chief of Epidemiology at UT Southwestern, told Alice Barr of NBC 5:
"West Nile and Zika are entirely different."
"It is possible that a mosquito could bite a person who just came back from El Salvador or Mexico or somewhere and transmit to somebody, that's possible. It's just it's so unlikely that it's just not happening."
And he added:
"People with similar reasons for travel tend to live in similar areas."
What We Know About West Nile Virus
Probably Applies to the Zika Virus
West Nile virus (WNV) was discovered in the U.S. in 1999 and has been detected in over 300 species of dead birds. Although some infected birds, especially crows and jays, frequently die of infection, most birds survive.
West Nile virus "is maintained in nature in a mosquito-bird-mosquito transmission cycle."
And Culex mosquitoes (especially Culex pipiens) are the main vectors of WNV. The virus is passed along through mosquito eggs (vertical transmission). Mosquitoes become infected when they feed on infected birds. Keep in mind, birds can be infected numerous ways (other than mosquitoes).
Culex are Vectors of the Zika Virus
So Why Hasn't the WHO Warned Countries?
Zika's Phylogenetic Relationship is Supported
a Whopping 99 Percent With WNV and SLEV
To Hear Dr. Fiona Hunter's Entire Speech
Scroll to the 58:53 Mark:
Thought-Provoking Questions That Need Answers
As mentioned in Dr. Walter S. Leal's paper:
"Dr. Scott Ritchie, James Cook University, Australia asked: 'Is anyone looking for the virus in birds?' This question captures the sentiment that both questions were thought provoking, and we still do not have all or many answers when it comes to ZIKV [the Zika virus]."
Saint Louis encephalitis virus (SLEV) is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito.
In temperate areas of the United States, SLEV disease cases occur primarily in the late summer or early fall. In the southern states, where the climate is milder, cases can occur year round. Although the geographic range of the virus extends from Canada to Argentina, human cases have almost exclusively occurred in the United States.
Wolbachia Cannot Be Taken Back
No Way to Put the Genie Back in the Bottle
As stated on the Eliminate Dengue website:
Assessing Key Safety Concerns of Wolbachia
"These genetic tools might not be the best strategies for ZIKV [Zika virus] given that at this point there seem to be multiple vectors not only at the species but also at the population level. The current genetic technologies would not be appropriately applied to such complex systems."
a) Culex mosquitoes treated with Wolbachia were more likely to carry the [West Nile] virus.
b) Naturally Wolbachia-infected Culex pipiens quinquefasciatus mosquitoes may, in fact, be better vectors of malaria than Wolbachia-free mosquitoes.
Alarm Bells Should Be Ringing Everywhere
Zika-Infected Culex + Wolbachia = Unknown Risks
Culex Infect Humans With Filarial Worms
Worms Release Wolbachia and Wolbachia Also Plays an Inordinate Role in Diseases (and Probably Zika Too)
I found a study which appeared to address the key safety concerns of a Wolbachia-based strategy to control dengue transmission by Aedes mosquitoes but what I discovered was unnerving.
What About Birds? What About When Aedes Die?
Bats and birds are the most common predators of adult mosquitoes.
The only mention of birds in this study is: "Wolbachia have never been found in humans or other mammals, neither in birds, reptiles or fish."
Wolbachia don’t naturally infect Aedes aegypti mosquitoes.
My take: That probably means Wolbachia isn't good for any of those species.
Once Birds Eat the Wolbachia-Infected Aedes
Then, Wolbachia IS indeed Found in Birds, Right?
And Culex mosquitoes (which are also a Zika vector) prefer to feed on birds and breed in polluted water. And we know Culex mosquitoes also carry encephalitis, filariasis, and the West Nile virus.
When Wolbachia-Infected Aedes Mosquitoes Die
Birds, Fish, Water Will Contain Their Wolbachia Strain
Snake venom is natural but it isn't safe.
The study (published March 2nd, 2016) Zika Virus: Medical Countermeasure Development Challenges states:
"Based on serology, but not verified by viral isolation, many other species may support Zika virus infection, including forest-dwelling birds, horses, goats, cattle, ducks and bats."
And the conclusion in the study Assessing key safety concerns of a Wolbachia-based strategy to control dengue transmission by Aedes mosquitoes states:
And My Jaw Dropped When I Read This:
"Assessing experimentally the potential consequences that could happen over a long-term period and large geographic scale could be a daunting task. Many questions related to long-term consequences can only be assessed once the release is done."
What is this? Let's just wait and see what happens?
There are numerous strains of Wolbachia. And I have tried to find out the precise strains used in Wolbachia-infected Aedes mosquitoes. Here is a screenshot of my attempt on the Eliminate Dengue: Our Challenge Facebook page:
Here is Just a Snippet of the Conversation:
Wolbachia: Bacteria and Reproductive Parasite
"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.
It is now widely accepted that endosymbiont screening and analysis should take place before any attempt to explain mtDNA patterns in terms of host ecology and evolution.
Lymphatic Filariasis in Humans
Remember, Wolbachia is Not Normal in Humans
A fascinating read is Wolbachia: master manipulators of invertebrate biology. But for the purposes of this article, I'm going to narrow the focus down to Wolbachia that causes filariasis and stress that Culex is a vector of Zika, West Nile virus, St. Louis encephalitis, lymphatic filariasis and other diseases.
The study Wolbachia in the inflammatory pathogenesis of human filariasis states:
"Together these studies suggest that Wolbachia are the principal cause of acute inflammatory filarial disease."
Wolbachia have never been found in humans or other mammals, neither in birds, reptiles or fish.
According to the CDC, the infection spreads from person to person via mosquito bites. Many mosquito species can transmit the parasite, depending on the geographic area. In the Americas, Culex quinquefasciatus is the most likely vector.
Interestingly enough, it takes many mosquito bites over the course of several months to years in order to acquire lymphatic filariasis. Therefore, people that live in tropical or sub-tropical areas are at the greatest risk for infection. And the CDC added, "Short-term tourists have a very low risk."
That last line (short-term tourists have a very low risk) might explain why the CDC and WHO ignored the advice of 240 scientists and public health experts in May 2016 to postpone or move the 2016 Rio Summer Olympic Games.
Culex Mosquitoes With Zika and Wolbachia
Comparing Lymphatic Filariasis and Zika
Diagnosis is made by identifying microfilariae in thick blood smears. But because of the nocturnal periodicity of microfilariae, blood smears are ideally made at night when microfilarial levels are higher.
Unfortunately, microfilariae may not be present in the blood during the early and late stages of the disease.
Humans who leave endemic areas have been observed to have circulating microfilariae for several years.
Addendum November 25th, 2016: The source of the above information (about early symptoms of lymphatic filariasis) has been removed, I obtained this information from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK7844
And the Similarities Observed With Zika
Sperm counts (and therefore fertility) and hormone levels all plummeted. Eventually mice became sterile.
Culex Species of Mosquitoes Need Testing
Singapore "has an established reputation for being clean, rich and organized (as well as autocratic). Compared to the region, it's quite low on mosquitoes ... a fraction of those in neighboring countries."
Professor Eng Ong Ooi, deputy director of the Emerging Infectious Diseases Program at Singapore’s prestigious National University, said only 20 percent of the population under age 20 has had a dengue fever infection. In other nearby cities, the prevalence is much higher.
"If you go to Bangkok, if you go to any other Southeast Asian cities, then that number is probably nearer 80, 90 percent," Ooi said.
Look again at where Singapore is on the map (in my intro image). On September 5th, 2016, CNN reported: "In just one week, Zika cases in Singapore have gone from zero to 258, raising concerns about a potential rapid surge in cases across Asia."
In Southeast Asia, Singapore and Thailand have reported many of the cases this year, with hundreds each. Thailand also reported Southeast Asia’s first two cases of Zika-related microcephaly in infants in late September, and Vietnam reported what it said was probably its first Zika-related microcephaly case in late October.
Wolbachia's Safety Only Tested on Earthworms,
Spiders, Spider Eggs, Soil, Millipedes, Leaves & Roots
Funding For Wolbachia-Infected Mosquitoes
Includes Some of the Richest People on the Planet:
Addendum: November 28th, 2016
Eliminar el Dengue Colombia Left Me a Friendly Reply
Addendum: Azithromycin, a Common Antibiotic
Seems to Prevent the Zika Virus From Infecting Cells
A November 29th, 2016 UCSF News Center post by Laura Kurtzman titled Zika in Fetal Brain Tissue Responds to a Popular Antibiotic appears to support my theory about Wolbachia. It states:
UC San Francisco researchers have identified fetal brain tissue cells that are targeted by the Zika virus and determined that azithromycin, a common antibiotic regarded as safe for use during pregnancy, can prevent the virus from infecting these cells.
Joseph DeRisi, PhD, chair of the UCSF Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, is consulting with clinical collaborators in Brazil with the hope of launching a clinical trial to see if azithromycin will lower the risk of fetal harm in pregnant women infected with Zika.
Antibiotics target bacteria (not viruses). And Zika is a virus. Viruses like to hide in bacteria and Wolbachia is a bacteria and reproductive parasite that plays an inordinate role in the pathogenesis of several diseases. I suspect it does with the Zika virus too.
I Am No Longer Able to Comment Using Disqus
Disqus Banned Me After ABC News Removed My Posts
Is This Why ABC News Removed My Posts?
Bill Gates Funds Wolbachia-Infected Mosquito Releases
Other Zika-Related Articles Written By Me
Other Ways to Help Fight the Zika Virus
Spread the word. Let your public health authority know Culex could be a vector. Share this article. Ask questions.
I designed serious (and some humorous) products on Zazzle to help raise funds for Zika research (either in Canada and/or Brazil). My Zazzle collection and my devoted Facebook page are both called: Zika: Let's Stop a Global Pandemic.
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.