Monday, April 25, 2016

Zika virus infection 2015-16 Epidemic - Update #4


Zika virus infection 2015-16 Epidemic
April 12, 2016 Update
Paul Herscu ND, MPH
Herscu Laboratory

The Time is NOW for Some Mosquitoes to Go

This article deals with only one aspect of prevention of Zika virus caused disease, and is the fourth of a series. For previous writings on the subject and to contextualize this writing, see: http://www.paulherscuepidemics.blogspot.com/

When my older son was entering middle school, he and I attended several Bioblitz events, which are 24-hour inventories of all species in a certain area. We got into the concept, after he read a book written by E.O. Wilson, Consilience. He later met Dr. Wilson, exchanged correspondence, joined the Explorer's Club and eventually gave lectures on the concept of the bioblitz. He also had the idea of connecting the E.O. Wilson's Encyclopedia of Life (http://eol.org) project with the Bioblitz events that occur in the National Parks of the USA. If you want to read about how the Bioblitz concept began, please see this link: 

The reason I highlight this concept is to say that my family is and has always been very environmentally friendly. We have worked for and continue to work towards a stable, robust biodiversity, not only for trophy, keystone, or umbrella species, but for all species. Diversity is essential for our own species to survive and thrive.

That said, and as an environmentalist, I believe the time has arrived for us, as a species, to drive into functional extinction a few mosquito species or species groups. The reasons are compelling, rational, ethical, and scientific. I would like to place this topic in context.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Zika virus infection 2015-16 Epidemic - Update #3


Zika virus infection 2015-16 Epidemic
March 24, 2016 Update
Paul Herscu ND, MPH
Herscu Laboratory

If you have not yet read my first posting on this topic, please do so now before reading the following.
As mentioned in prior longer posts, my intention was to lay a foundation and build scaffolding so that when you see data or hear the news or learn of novel discoveries, you will have enough history and adequate context to make sense of it and have an informed opinion, making it easier for everyone to both predict what the news will be, and to anticipate government and scientific next steps. And as I finished that post, I mentioned that if I did my job well, the next posts would be short as the scaffolding would be in place and the forecasts made, only needing to be confirmed. If you have not read those posts please do so, as they will help place the discussion in context. You can find them HERE. The specific variables I chose to focus on remain the same:

1. Will Zika virus impact the USA?
2. Does Zika virus cause neurological diseases or is it some other agent?
3. Is Aedes aegypti the only vector we have to worry about?
4. How to address the intersection of economics and infections.
5. The role of Prevention.

Let’s dive in

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Zika virus infection 2015-16 Epidemic - Update #2

Zika virus infection 2015-16 Epidemic
February 11, 2016 Update
Paul Herscu, ND, MPH
Herscu Laboratory

If you have not yet read my first posting on this topic, please do so now before reading the following.

My intention with this post is to continue to lay a foundation and build scaffolding so that when you see data or hear the news or learn of novel discoveries, you will have enough history and adequate context to make sense of it and have an informed opinion. These writings should also make it easier for everyone to both predict what the news will be, and to anticipate government and scientific next steps. Here we are focusing on Zika virus, but really the discussion of Zika virus lies within a larger framework. As such I am going to describe a few variables below. They relate to the topic of germs in general and Zika virus specifically. In this update, I describe briefly, the placement of people within biology, the relationship of Zika virus and neurological diseases, vector and coinfection issues, economic issues, and ultimately prevention. At the end of this reading, I expect many of your questions will be answered and much of the future news may find a more logical place.

Into the Water

I am writing this part in the Florida Everglades, within the home range of the Aedes aegypti mosquito. One of my sons and I just finished handling alligators and snakes and now I am about to have lunch. And it occurs to me that these are ‘dirty’ creatures, by which I mean they carry any number of little critters, let alone bacteria and viruses on their skin, which might make me sick. Maybe I should wash my hands extra special! While this may seem like those were exotic creatures, a more common American example would be pet turtles under 4 inches and frogs in the USA that can make the very young, old, or immune compromised people sick or even kill them with Salmonella infections. At its height, the problem was so great, the FDA stepped in to ban the transportation of turtles in the USA. 
Or:

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Zika virus infection 2015-16 Epidemic - Update #1


Zika virus infection 2015-16 Epidemic
January 2016 Update
Paul Herscu, ND, MPH
Herscu Laboratory


We have just passed over a milestone that I want to highlight, to place the discussion about Zika virus in a very important context. We have just had a twelfth case of Zika virus infection diagnosed in the USA. This number is significant to me, since it is exactly one more patient than the total number of Ebola virus disease (EVD) patients to have hit USA soil from the Ebolavirus 2014 Outbreak in Western Africa. That number includes those who developed EVD in Africa and were transported here and those who fell ill from human transmission inside the USA.
I believe it is of upmost importance to place any discussion of Zika virus infection within an EVD context for a variety of reasons. When I commented on EVD, both in this Blog  and in the Webinar I presented on Viruses, I made some very strong comments and predictions. These were based on tracking viral infection outbreaks and epidemics around the worlds for several decades.
One point I highlighted was as we look at the history of our species and its effect on other species on this planet one thing becomes clear. As we have explored, conquered, inhabited and thrived in a variety of environments around the planet, when we found a species that was large-toothed, venomous, and scary, we would try to destroy it, driving the species towards extinction. We feel more comfortable when they are not threatening us. Right or wrong this is what we have done. And as we have begun to feel more comfortable in our surroundings, we began to look more closely at what may be the new scary things to our species–germs, bacteria and viruses. And as our technology has gotten better, cheaper, more accurate and specific, we are better able to isolate an ever-increasing diverse microcosm, both outside and inside of our bodies. In short, we have relearned that we are not alone. And again, reflexively, we are frightened. An added fear is the continued realization that an ever-larger number of bacteria become scarier as we encourage their evolution with and toward antibiotic resistance.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Ebolavirus 2014 Outbreak - #6

Ebolavirus 2014 Outbreak
May 5, 2015 Update #6
Paul Herscu, ND, DHANP, MPH
Herscu Laboratory

VERY NEARLY THERE

Well, it is my birthday today and I decided to treat myself to the birthday gift of writing this update. I am going to keep this short. Back in September, and again in October I wrote that by May 2015 we are going to have Ebola free countries in West Africa, assuming that there are no major cuts in funding. Elsewhere, in webinars on epidemics, I highlighted the different treatment protocols in the different countries, and that all things being equal some countries are going to fare better than other countries. The bottom line though was that by the start of 2015 the disease would become localized and that with all resources effectively brought to bear, Guinea should be clear except for some localized areas and Liberia would be Ebola free sometime in May. Well, if my math is right, by the end of the week, Liberia will be announced as being Ebola free, crossing our fingers still. This leaves two countries with local outbreaks.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Genus Epidemicus for Current URI - Update #1

December 23, 2014

Hi Everyone,

I hope all is well with you and yours. This is a quick note about the current upper respiratory tract infections in North America and Europe. 

Without getting into a very long description, and without describing the full case of constitutional homeopathy, case taking, case analysis, etc., it seems as though the current genus epidemicus is Lycopodium

This is regardless of the actual bug. I have seen the very young with right sided otitis media, teenagers with right sided sore throats, middle aged people with bronchitis and influenza, and older folks with bronchitis. In each case the patient was either someone who needed Lycopodium constitutionally and got sick while staying in their constitution, or else someone who went into a Lycopodium acute. 

I am sending this quick note because as a rule most of their complaints were not obviously pointing to this remedy. Therefore, I am sending this to just ask you to take a look at the remedy as a possibility, if you are either confused by the case, or if things are not progressing as they should. I am aware that historically, homeopaths considered the genus epidemicus for just one bug at one time. Again, my goal is not to discuss this topic here, as it is too lengthy, but just to highlight this remedy. 

Good luck, Paul

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Ebolavirus 2014 Outbreak - #5


Ebolavirus 2014 Outbreak
October 31, 2014 Update #5
Paul Herscu, ND, DHANP, MPH
Herscu Laboratory

DON’T PANIC! WE’RE NEARLY THERE (FOR THE DEVELOPED WORLD, AT LEAST)

I would like to begin with the main points. First, it should become clearer that neither North America, nor Europe nor the majority of Africa will have an epidemic of EVD, so that chatter will stop. Second, it should shortly become obvious to everyone that the viral transmission has not become airborne, and that confusion will stop as well. And third, it’s becoming clearer that the reasons things got so bad in the first place have to do with poor health care infrastructure, rather than the virus itself. Sadly this widespread problem is deep and wide and will need our attention for years to come.

Many countries are negotiating around quarantine versus isolation versus quarantine in place versus revoking travel permits. This is true in Africa where many countries have forbidden travel into their countries for those arriving from impacted countries; Australia took the most extreme version similar to the advice I last posted, i.e., no one from an effected country allowed in unless they have completed a 21 day quarantine in the country of origin.  In the USA the military has taken a similar approach and in our civil society there has been much debate and evolution of rules. What is clear is that as the majority of ban of travel is in force around the world, travel on public transportation and in public areas is now forbidden in most every place, and given the timing of developing the infection and given the vigilance in place, I now consider this potential epidemic over for most of the world.