Love Conspiracy Theories? Here are 5 about the Zika Outbreak!
There’s a newish virus in town and it causes … Zika conspiracy theories!
Yes, it’s bad taste to joke about something that causes brain damage in babies. But we’re not making fun of the disease; this is about people who somehow survived the dengue, West Nile, SARS, bird/swine flu, and even Ebola, yet still struggle to read.
We were just gonna serve you some tin foil and make fun of conspiracy theorist, but we’re a reputable outlet, so before that hat, here’s some information, okay?
Zika is not actually new – it was first isolated in 1947 in Uganda and it was never much of a deal. It’s like the mild-mannered cousin to dengue, West Nile or chikungunya. In other words: unless you’ve spectacularly bad luck, you might not notice you’ve caught it. The sneaky bastard might make you more prone to autoimmune disease, but nobody knows that for sure yet.
Likewise, microcephaly isn’t new. It’s a condition where during pregnancy or early infancy baby’s head and brain don’t grow sufficiently. It may be mild or severe, causing anything from stillbirth to learning disabilities, or have no perceptible consequences. Its causes? You name it: genes, infections, environmental toxins, trauma, maternal malnutrition, or a combination of factors. Which infections? Among others: toxoplasmosis, chicken pox, rubella, HIV, and as of this February, Zika. Toxins, you say? Yep: alcohol, pesticides, heavy metals, recreational drugs, the works! Sometimes, the cause can be pinpointed, sometimes diagnosis will say “idiopathic”, which is medical for “sorry, we don’t know what the fuck happened here”.
Now that we’ve sort of got the facts down, grab that foil, we’re going in:
Conspiracy theory #1: Zika doesn’t cause microcephaly.
There have been at least four independent studies proving the link between them. Here’s a very thorough article from the team who proved it first. Why so few, the naysayers will ask? Well, perhaps because for a conclusive result an autopsy must be performed. We hate to be crude here, but these things take time.
But there are women who gave birth to healthy babies despite Zika? Sure. And there are women whose babies were born with microcephaly and no infection? Yes. Which brings us to …
Conspiracy theory #2: Pesticides.
Well, maybe. Remember environmental toxins? There’s a report cited on every single “independent news” site that allegedly proves it. But although this report, written by a group of Argentinean Physicians in crop-sprayed towns, it does claim the reason behind the outbreak is a larvicide called pyriproxyfen (although it gives only anecdotal evidence and very little explanation), almost half of the report talks about things which don’t really translate into sound bites or click baits so well: poverty and non-existent infrastructure, water cisterns which are breeding grounds for mosquitoes, incompetent use of pesticides, mismanagement, and suggests how to make improvements. In other words, it spells out recommendations given for decades to combat that much more widespread, much deadlier, but infinitely less attractive mosquito-borne disease: malaria.
Conspiracy theory #3: The Global North.
This has some validity, because of global inequality in the distribution of wealth. But it comes with an interesting spin-off: claims that Zika was not considered a problem until it was only rampant in the Global South. Which directly contradicts conspiracy theories #1 and #2, but also leaves us thinking that idiopathic microcephaly might be a lot more widespread than previously thought. Seriously, people.
Conspiracy theory #4: The Illuminati.
Zika is a part of their plan to depopulate the earth. Case in point: Brazilian government recommends women do not become pregnant for two years. According to the internets, this plan is coordinated with the Rothschild family, the Anti-Christ, feminists, communists and George Soros, directly or via their proxies, various UN agencies and NGOs.
Conspiracy Theory #5: Vaccines.
Specifically, Tdap vaccine. No explanation why it causes microcephaly in Brazil, but nowhere else. It just does, okay?
Perhaps it’s naive, but the only conspiracy here seems to be poverty. And that’s not even a conspiracy: the moffos are causing it openly.