February 11, 2016 Update
Paul Herscu, ND, MPH
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.