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Access: Zika and microcephaly: things to know

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  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Susan Snowdon,

    If anyone has any good information on current use of this fungicide in NZ I would be interested.

    Oh...and Grandma's favourite rose spray....from Kiwicare, no less...but I see it has been 'discontinued', for obvious reasons.

    Replaced with a brand new product...Plant Health Rose Force....why do they go for such powerful sounding names?

    I am not for a minute suggesting that Benomyl/Carbendazim is related to the microcephaly found in the latest spike in Brazil. If it were pesticide related, I'd be looking closely at insecticides...known neurotoxins.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    Scary stuff. Will be an even bigger battle to ban these chemicals when the TPPA is ratified. Round Up just the beginning.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3203 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    Will be an even bigger battle to ban these chemicals when the TPPA is ratified

    A ban would be just about impossible.

    What would be good is that the rules and regulations that already apply to the use of agrichemicals were actually enforced. They are not.

    Under TPP....like all the other so called 'environmental protections'...if actual enforcement were demanded by the public...companies would then think "sue"...because they could accurately argue that enforcement was was a new thing.

    Reading 9,999,999 articles about Brazil, especially the North East...the deforestation, horticulture, aquaculture, beef farming, mining and heavy industry...all done exploiting poor workers with little or no protection and regulation....I get a picture of an experiment allowed to run riot....

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald,

    This study looks at workers from southern Brazil

    and from what I've read, conditions for workers in the NE are poorly monitored.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3203 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald,

    I'm glad you posted that Hilary...my initial instinct when I read that was....hmmm...that sounds a lot more likely than a virus attributable effect...but...I suspect that this possible explanation will be discredited because these are doctors who belong to an agrichemical action group...

    The chemical, which is known as Pyriproxyfen, was used in a massive government-run program tasked to control the mosquito population in the country. Pyriproxyfen is a larvicide manufactured by Sumitomo Chemical, a company associated [PDF] with Monsanto. However, PCST has referred to Sumitomo as a subsidiary of Monsanto.

    "Malformations detected in thousands of children from pregnant women living in areas where the Brazilian state added pyriproxyfen to drinking water is not a coincidence," the PCST wrote [pdf] in the report.

    For instance, the Brazilian Health Ministry had injected pyriproxyfen to reservoirs in the state of Pernambuco. In the area, the proliferation of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which carries the Zika virus, is very high, the PCST said.

    A bit of google wandering found that the larvicide has been pronounced 'safe' to use in water supplies, and an equal number saying completely the other.

    This whole issue...I suspect the truth will never out.

    The most significant aspect to me...who has no formal research or academic backgound... is that the form that the microcephaly has presented in some of these cases.

    Generally, microcephaly presents with a small head, brain and the skin covering the skull 'fits' the small cranium. The baby's brain has never developed normally.

    In these babies, the brain looks normal in texture and form...just 'diminished'. The cranium appears to have collapsed...with bony deposits inside the skull. The skin on the head is wrinkled.

    One doctor, and expert on microcephaly, said that it appeared these babies' brain development was normal until a catastrophic event occurred that damaged and shrunk the brain, with the resulting collapse of the skull and the wrinkling of the scalp.
    Sorry, I can't find the article...

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    A columnist in the paper this morning was lamenting the banning of DDT and blaming Rachel Carson and Silent Spring. He seemed to be saying that if we could still spray DDT everywhere we wouldn't have zika. (I suspect the mosquitos would have developed immunity and many more people would have died of cancer caused by DDT).

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3203 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood,

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to David Hood,

    NOAEL refers to “no-observed-adverse-effect level,”

    Always makes me laugh when the agrichemical fans say "look at the NOAEL!"...as if there is nothing to worry about providing the contaminated don't more or less immediately keel over.

    All's good here...

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    banning of DDT

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DDT

    It's like the greenies getting blamed for the Pike River disaster.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • David Hood, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    Orac is a surgeon and scientist, rather than agribusiness fan, so he has a pretty well developed professional judgement in evidence in health arguments.

    Dunedin • Since May 2007 • 1445 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    Another conspiracy theory doing the rounds is blaming microcephaly on maternal immunistation. Which somehow is only a problem in countries experiencing a Zika outbreak. This is why we have science - so that we can tell the difference between things that confirm our beliefs and things that are true.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • Rosemary McDonald, in reply to B Jones,

    Another conspiracy theory doing the rounds is blaming microcephaly on maternal immunistation.

    Ah,...the TDap vac....given to pregnant women in the hope that it will give immunity to newborns to whooping cough. Dreadful disease, pertussis, and very difficult to immunise babies and young children against. The old vaccine...did give good cover but way too many babies and toddlers had severe adverse reactions...so they withdrew it. The new vaccine...safer...but no way near as effective.

    Science can not solve all the world's problems.

    In NZ TDap can be given...but only after the second trimester. Word is, that in Brazil, women were vaccinated earlier than this. Betcha they won't be releasing the vaccination records of women whose babies' have microcephaly.

    PS....I'm one of those people who watched the Twin Towers collapse in real time and immediately thought "controlled demolition". Then...the "official" version of events permeated the media...and, like almost everyone, else I believed it.

    Then...I had another look...I like to keep an open mind.

    Waikato, or on the road • Since Apr 2014 • 1344 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    They give it in 3rd trimester because that's when most antibodies are passed over, not because it's less safe at other times. The protection fades if you give it too early.

    Has anyone properly considered the possibility of reverse vampires? I bet they won't release that data.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    If you think it's fun and harmless to spread conspiracy theories, you are wrong.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    One graph on p329 of Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science vividly illustrates the harm of anti-vaccination conspiracy theories. Following the anti-MMR campaign (with wide and alarmist media coverage from 2001), Britain had a mumps epidemic starting in 2004, with reported cases in the tens of thousands. Goldacre reminds us that, before the MMR vaccination programme,

    mumps was the commonest cause of viral meningitis, and one of the leading causes of hearing loss in children.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to linger,

    vividly illustrates the harm of anti-vaccination conspiracy theories

    NY Times article notes that "Brazil’s southernmost state went so far over the weekend as to ban the use of the larvicide in its drinking water" a theory spread by actors (spit) tweeting.

    The larvacide kills mosquitoes that spread multiple diseases including zika, it's an insect hormone - it can't even harm our shapechanging lizard overlords!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    I hope it was clear that I thought the conspiracy theory to be nonsense, and an illustration of the loose thinking that goes on when medical mysteries abound.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to B Jones,

    I hope it was clear that I thought the conspiracy theory to be nonsense

    Yup.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    spit-tweeting

    is a way of transmitting communicable diseases.
    (It's a celebrity! Get me outta here...)

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    NZer Cliff Robinson talks about raising his two adult children with microcephaly

    http://www.womensweekly.co.nz/latest/real-life/the-inspiring-story-of-one-fathers-unconditional-love-18398

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3203 posts Report Reply

  • Angela Hart,

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2014 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Angela Hart, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    Cliff is one of the Atkinson complainants whose case eventually resulted in Funded Family Care and the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act Amendment 2013.
    http://publicaddress.net/access/family-carers-case-five-years-on/

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2014 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Angela Hart,

    and now Aedes aegypti happily breeding near Auckland airport
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/298369/possible-zika-carrying-larvae-found.
    Hopefully the microcephaly connection will be disproven. Zika itself doesn't appear to be too bad.

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2014 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones,

    It looks like it's still the most likely suspect: New evidence supporting a link between Zika virus infection and microcephaly
    From the CDC report:

    "Among the six [American] pregnant women with Zika virus disease who reported symptoms during the first trimester, outcomes included two early pregnancy losses, two elective pregnancy terminations, and delivery of a live born infant with microcephaly; one pregnancy is continuing. "

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report Reply

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