Fear And Panic Takes Hold As Zika Virus spreads Like Wildfire

Is Zika Virus epidemic anything to do with militarised GM Mosquitos (Image source)

A year ago the global fear and panic industry was working overtime to spread alarm about the West African Ebola epidemic. The news from a few poor nations on Africa’s Atlantic coast sent US, European and Asian stock markets reeling ahead of an even sharper rebound (in other words the investment banks ‘bought the dip’ and then pumped up prices once people got over the fear that ebola would spread like a bad smell.

Today the head of the World Health Organization, fear and panic agency delivered a strongly worded warning when she said that the mosquito borne Zika virus that causes birth defects when pregnant women become infected, has been “spreading explosively” in South and Central America.

“The level of alarm is extremely high,” WHO director general Margaret Chan said Thursday in an e-mailed statement according to Bloomberg. Chan said she will convene an emergency meeting on Feb. 1 in Geneva to consider whether to declare the outbreak a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern,” which can coordinate government responses to direct money and resources at the virus. She added that the spread of the mosquito-borne disease had gone from a mild threat to one of alarming proportions.

Bloomberg adds that according to Chan researchers are working to determine the exact link between the virus and birth defects such as microcephaly, which causes babies to be born with abnormally small heads and potential developmental problems. “The possible links, only recently suspected, have rapidly changed the risk profile of Zika, from a mild threat to one of alarming proportions,” Chan told members of the WHO executive board in Switzerland.

One way in which the Zika virus is comparable to Ebola is that in both cases there is no vaccine and it could take years before one is available.

Another way the Ebola scenario could come back with a vengeance is that the WHO said that it expects the infection to eventually become common in the U.S. Travelers from countries with outbreaks have already been diagnosed on their return to America.

A report from Reuters confirmed this, when it noted that according to the WHO, the Zika virus may affect “between three million and four million people.”

Ebola outbreak caused by new strain never seen before; was it weaponized ask sceptical scientists?

by Ian R Thorpe

Since we and other blogs reported the concerns of highly regarded virologists about the strain of ebola virus involved in the outbreak currently devastating three west African nations, several more experts have gone public to say that the current strain of Ebola virus plaguing Africa and slowly spreading to other continents is potentially much more lethal than previous strains identified by virologists.

It is widely know that in the time leading up to the outbreak which began in February 2013, a research team made up of biologists from America’s Tulane University and the US Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency biological Weapons Development team were experimenting on the ebola virus in a purpose built laboratory in Sierra Leone.

As reported by Washington’s Blog, Dr. Michael Osterholm, the head of the Center for Infection Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, a prominent public health researcher who is internationally recognized, recently gave a talk explaining what another Ebola researcher has found.

During his talk, which was broadcast on C-SPAN, Osterholm said Gary Kobinger, chief of Special Pathogens for Canada’s national health agency, has said the current Ebola strain appears to be far worse than any previous strain. He added that Kobinger believes that the current strain could more easily be spread through aerosols than those previously identified as well.

“Today I’ve been given permission [to talk about] something I’ve known about for a few weeks… when I wrote the piece, I knew about this, and it’s concerned me greatly,” said Osterholm, in discussing an article that he previously wrote on the issue with an audience at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in a video clip that can be seen here.

“Gary Kobinger and colleagues at Winnipeg — the Canadian National Lab — actually took one of the [Ebola] strains from Guinea and put it into macaques [monkeys],” in early September, he said. “What they saw was remarkable. It was unlike any of the Ebola viruses they’ve seen in monkeys. It was much, much more severe; the pathology in the lungs was remarkable, and, as Gary said — who is one of the most prominent Ebola virologists in the world — said, ‘It is very worrisome to me, about what I saw there.’ Maybe this is a different virus.”

Osterholm said he was not trying to raise undue fears, but rather the goal was to motivate policymakers to come up with a “Plan B” should the virus, at some point, mutate and become airborne, like the common influenza virus.

Just a few days earlier, another top virologist, Peter Jahrling, chief scientist at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, where he runs the emerging viral pathogens section, said he, too, is concerned that “the mutations of the virus that are circulating now look to be more contagious than the ones that have turned up in the past”.

“When his team has run tests on patients in Liberia, they seem to carry a much higher ‘viral load.’ In other words, Ebola victims today have more of the virus in their blood — and that could make them more contagious,” Vox news site reported.

A story that went lagely unmentioned by mainstream media last April reported there was discussion within the virology community after the outbreak began in West Africa, about a report published in the New England Journal of Medicine by a group of 30 scientists and researchers which said that the current strain of the virus did not come from Central Africa but was instead a new strain.

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