Thursday, February 4, 2016

GMO Mosquitoes, Zinka, and Previous Testing

Conspiracy theory work is, in part, all about connecting dots, seeing patterns. (No matter how large and crazy the pattern might be.) My first thought when reading about the Zika virus was a conspiratorial one. Suddenly, mosquitoes are causing these tragic birth defects? And yet, this virus has "always" been present?

Remembering something about genetically modified mosquitoes in Florida awhile back, I found this from NPR: Health News from 2015:

[Florida Health Officials Hope To Test GMO Mosquitoes This Spring : Shots - Health News : NPR] Experiments already conducted in Malaysia, Brazil and the Cayman Islands have found that releasing bioengineered male mosquitoes can reduce the A. Aegypti population by 90 percent. (italics mine.)
The Zika virus manifests with the following symptoms, according to the CDC:
Zika virus is spread to people through mosquito bites. The most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis (red eyes). The illness is usually mild with symptoms lasting from several days to a week. Severe disease requiring hospitalization is uncommon.
In May 2015, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) issued an alert regarding the first confirmed Zika virus infection in Brazil. The outbreak in Brazil led to reports of Guillain-Barré syndrome and pregnant women giving birth to babies with birth defects and poor pregnancy outcomes. (CDC.)
Two different things. One, a breed of mosquito engineered to kill off another that carries disease -- not Zika. Another, our current crisis, the Zinka. Seemingly unrelated, and they may be. On the other hand, the links do seem curious.