News that only two AdÃ©lie penguin chicks (from a colony of 40,000) in Antarctica survived breeding season had me on high alert. Yet the narrative (in mainstream media) was already set: changing weather forced parents to travel further in search of food because of changing climate. This is far less likely than Wolbachia infecting their food source coupled with a virus (Zika or West Nile) to cause their deaths. What's more: for the last two decades, the Antarctic peninsula - the tip of the continent nearest to South America - has not become any warmer.
Scientists are getting closer to pinpointing precisely what made Zika such a devastating neurological disease. And the latest findings, just this week, seem to confirm my worst fear: Zika is behaving like a bacteriophage, most likely within the Culex species of mosquitoes. Sadly, much of the media, politicians, (and even doctors) are continuing to tout Aedes as the only vectors of Zika. Wolbachia is not even mentioned as a co-factor. We need to look at recent findings because bacteria always evolve to ensure its survival.
What I predicted in 2016 appears to be coming true, unfortunately. I believe North Atlantic right whales are suffering from Zika infections along with Wolbachia infections via their food supply. Calanus finmarchicus (Cal fin) comprises 1/3 Aedes aegypti. And krill also contains both Aedes aegypti and Culex (both Zika vectors). In this post, I spell out which tests desperately need to be conducted on North Atlantic right whales (including a newer, safer, more reliable method for extracting eye fluids). Bottom line: the richest people on the planet might be responsible for this and (if so) they should be held accountable. They have the money to rectify it.
The case for the Culex genus of mosquitoes as Zika vectors is becoming stronger. Aedes prefer to live indoors and never stray far from people. So, it was a surprise to learn that Florida's Zika outbreak stemmed from about 30 cruise ship passengers. What's more, evidence is mounting that Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes are not effective in the long-term and may even enhance viral infection. Problem is: Wolbachia can never be taken back. Is it too late to restore critical ecosystems? I don't know, but more Wolbachia-infected mosquito releases are set to take place in Florida, India, Selangor, Vietnam, New Caledonia, Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), and Medellin (Columbia).
Just when I thought Wolbachia-infected mosquito releases were a big coincidence in certain Zika-endemic regions of the world, the perfect reservoir is paired up with them. And this bird doesn't migrate; therefore, the poorest people in the world are once again the most vulnerable. What's worse: discovering outright lies by public health authorities and the omission of glaring scientific facts. Looking for Zika in birds is about as fundamental as plugging in your computer.
I think Bill Gates has tinkered enough with human health. An editorial in the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics linked 47,500 new cases of non-polio AFP [Acute Flaccid Paralysis] to Bill and Melinda Gates' polio vaccines. I haven't delved into the polio claims, but in the case of Zika, I feel strongly that Bill Gates has blindly plunged ahead into dangerous territory promoting Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes. I just hope it's not too late to restore ecological balances in areas where these releases have been carried out.
The WHO ignored the early warnings in February 2016 about the Culex genus of mosquitoes and now Zika is spreading throughout the poorest regions of the globe. Our public health authorities failed to contain the virus and repeatedly downplayed or ignored crucial scientific facts. Culex mosquitoes in Brazil and China are spreading Zika (which means birds are likely reservoir hosts). What's worse: Wolbachia that is acquired by any species after (or perhaps along with) a Zika infection is probably enhanced by Wolbachia. Bottom line: Wolbachia-infected mosquito releases are likely at the root of this global pandemic and their detrimental impact to humans (and other vertebrate species) must be investigated by independent researchers.
Some scientists have sold their souls, apparently. After reading a study that blamed El NiÃ±o for the spread of Zika, I couldn't help but delve deeper into what Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes might be doing to humans. And as I researched further, it became clear why Culex mosquitoes have been dismissed as Zika vectors: Wolbachia-infected Aedes mosquito releases are heavily funded by four governments (including Bill Gates). And they could be causing more harm than good.
Over the past few days, I've been shocked to see and hear obvious attempts to downplay Zika's similarities to West Nile virus. And what I discovered sent chills up my spine. It's possible that a seemingly harmless mosquito control method (using the bacterium Wolbachia) could enhance the Zika virus in Culex mosquitoes. And Culex have finally been acknowledged as a vector of Zika (by the WHO). In California and Florida, Culex mosquitoes are everywhere. And it appears that dangerous decisions have been (and are being) made by our public health authorities that we can never undo.
No surprise: money is probably at the root of why the public (and many in the scientific community) are ignoring, omitting, or downplaying the fact that the Zika virus is found in birds. Forty-five years ago, 15 percent of birds studied in Uganda were found to be reservoir hosts of the Zika virus. That percentage would only increase as Zika has spread and mutated around the globe. And Culex are also vectors of the Zika virus (this has been proven by three independent research teams out of Brazil, China, and Canada). Those culpable for the most harmful strain of Zika may be the backers of Wolbachia-infected mosquito releases. The people involved include Bill and Melinda Gates and the following governments: UK Department for International Development, United States Agency for International Development through the Combating Zika and Future Threats Grand Challenge, Australian and Queensland governments, and the Brazilian government. With those deep pockets and power, it's no wonder why crucial studies and reports have magically disappeared from the internet.
Once I researched Wolbachia some more, I realized there has been a dangerous precedent already set in motion in California, Brazil, Columbia, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Australia. Two separate research teams found Culex infected by a specific type of Wolbachia caused a totally unexpected result: an increase in West Nile and malaria infections. Culex already harbor Wolbachia, however, there are numerous strains of this bacteria. Since the WHO has finally admitted that Culex are also a vector of Zika, I felt it was prudent for Florida (and other regions of the world) to be aware of the risks involved with Wolbachia-based mosquito control and to test out whether local Culex - that will eventually acquire it naturally from the Wolbachia-infected Aedes - will become (or are already) a more worrisome vector of the Zika virus.
The carelessness of our public health authorities over the Zika virus has disappointed me immensely this past year. And just when I thought there would be some signs of remorse, WHO's director-general, Dr. Margaret Chan, blamed the vector control strategies of countries in southeast Asia. Meanwhile, she has known since February 2016 that Culex mosquitoes were also a likely Zika vector that require entirely different eradication methods. But even worse: Wolbachia-infected Aedes mosquitoes have been released in various regions of the world for the past six years. And while Wolbachia in Aedes may not be transmitted to humans; Culex mosquitoes are capable of acquiring it and transmitting it. Culex are able to infect humans with filarial worms infected with Wolbachia. And Wolbachia seem to play an inordinate role in diseases. For weeks I pored over studies and found to my utter shock that Culex with Zika and Wolbachia could be responsible for some of the most devastating outcomes for human life.
Exploration of the tide pools and beaches in Southern California can result in encountering many different animal species, both vertebrates and invertebrates. Some are amusing to observe, others potentially dangerous, and some can be safely touched. Many similar animal species are found at beaches around the world.
While exploring tide pools and beaches in Southern California, many different animals may be encountered, both vertebrates and invertebrates. Some are amusing, others are dangerous, and some can even be safely touched. Many similar species are found in locations around the world.
Tarantulas are over 900 species worldwide, and include the largest spiders on Earth. There is a wasp that also has a worldwide distribution, called the tarantula hawk, that intentionally hunts and kills tarantula spiders. This large wasp has the second-most painful sting of any insect on Earth but thankfully rarely attacks humans. If you've never felt sorry for large spiders before, you will if you ever witness one of the epic battles between tarantulas and tarantula hawks.
Jaguars and leopards have many physical similarities, although there are definite ways to tell the two species apart. There are other differences as well, such as the fact that they live on different continents and would never meet in the wild. Some differences are behavioral. Knowing some basic information about them can make it much easier to tell the two species apart.
Three of the seven sea turtle species on Earth are critically endangered, which is the most severe rating given for a wild animal. The decline of these species and others around the world can be attributed to the activities of human beings, and more can and should be done to minimize the harm being done. The three critically endangered sea turtle species are the hawksbill, Kemp's ridley, and leatherback sea turtles.