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The Zika Virus


Reflections
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I'm surprised that this hasn't been discussed yet. 

 

While the science is still out there seems to be growing evidence that the virus is the cause of the microcephaly.  There's been discussions elsewhere about why it's blown up in Brazil:  from "it's mutated" to because of an immune response.  Disturbingly, there's been at least one documented case where the husband has transmitted the virus to his wife.

 

So, what are your thoughts?

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I know people who are pregnant in potentially-affected countries who are trying to decide what to do. This is a big deal for internationally mobile people, although no where near to the same extent for people from or living in Brazil.

 

It usually sounds especially scary at the beginning when we don't know much but getting more information helps. There are still so many unanswered questions. The biggest one is why does this just seem to be happening in Brazil when many other countries have Zika in them? Have we missed something in other countries or is there something unique to Brazil? What if this happens in a country Ike Haiti where there are far fewer resources to help children born with microcephaly?

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In the linked article it's very interesting that the virus was unable to be found in his bloodstream, but was found in his semen and urine.  Plus, apparently, it does not infect mice or rats, so it'll be difficult to study.  Oy.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/26/health/two-cases-suggest-zika-virus-could-be-spread-through-sex.html

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I believe that here in Colombia they have suggested that women delay getting pregnant. The major outbreak is in Brazil, but it is also in many other countries.  If an infected person is bitten by a Mosquito, and that Mosquito then bites another person, that is how it is transmitted from one person to another.  My belief is that it is much more common for someone to be bitten by an infected Mosquito, rather than human to human transmission of the virus. .  At this time, I don't believe there is a vaccine for this and I believe they are trying to control it, ASAP.    The vast majority of people who get the infection have minor flu symptoms, but for women who are pregnant (and I don't remember in which trimester it is most dangerous) it can cause terrible problems in the baby.  

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I think it's very possible that this may turn out to be much more of a scare than it actually is. Zika has been around for 50 years with outbreaks in quite a few places and it doesn't seem to have caused microcephaly anywhere else besides Brazil (and there still isn't a proven connection between Zika and microcephaly there, although there's very strong evidence that there is). It's unlikely that we've missed this number of microcephaly cases elsewhere. We'll probably have to wait another three to six months to see if microcephaly cases spike in other newly-affected countries, but it's possible that some odd combination of circumstances caused the spike in Brazil and that Zika will continue to be a low-impact disease as it has been in the past. We can hope.

 

If it does prove to be a significant cause of microcephaly in the Americas, it still shouldn't affect the US and Canada too significantly because it's transmitted through mosquitoes like dengue. If we can keep dengue under control, we can keep Zika under control. People living in the US and Canada don't have to worry much and there are plenty of preventative measures to avoid getting Zika (just like you really don't want to get dengue while you're pregnant either). But this would be a huge problem in most of the rest of the Americas and I truly hope that doesn't happen.

 

Stupid mosquitoes. Getting rid of them would do so much to increase public health.

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But are we really "controlling" dengue here? I thought it was just that the mosquitos that carry that, zika, and chikengunya were susceptible to northern climate, unlike the ones that carry West Nile and Yellow Fever.

 

It's the same mosquito that spreads dengue, chikungunya, zika and yellow fever.  I do think we can keep zika under control because preventing it is the same as preventing other diseases like dengue-  reduce the mosquito population and avoid bites.

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But are we really "controlling" dengue here? I thought it was just that the mosquitos that carry that, zika, and chikengunya were susceptible to northern climate, unlike the ones that carry West Nile and Yellow Fever.

 

I'm in Florida, and we don't get cold enough to kill those mosquitoes. But, we have spraying programs in place and ways to keep the mosquito problem more under control. (not pesticides, usually the sprays are a natural organism that kills the mosquito larva)

 

Edited to add we also have more window screens, access to repellent, and central air conditioning. 

Edited by ktgrok
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This does bring up... how are we controlling mosquito borne illnesses? There are a LOT of mosquitoes in the US. I mean, sometimes we're told to worry about West Nile, but how did we eradicate malaria in the south? I know that blanketing the south with pesticides for decades helped and that's not a procedure we want to repeat, but there's got to be more to it.

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I posted earlier that the sprays used by municipal areas in florida are lavacide, but after researching it seems they use a combination of adulticides and larvicides. These are sprayed from planes and trucks and some areas have a program where you can request someone come out and treat your yard as well. 

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This does bring up... how are we controlling mosquito borne illnesses? There are a LOT of mosquitoes in the US. I mean, sometimes we're told to worry about West Nile, but how did we eradicate malaria in the south? I know that blanketing the south with pesticides for decades helped and that's not a procedure we want to repeat, but there's got to be more to it.

 

I think it was with DDT, which caused all kinds of environmental problems, and I think led to the book Silent Spring, which started the environmentalist movement.

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We need to kill mosquitoes. We should worry about the rest when that goal is accomplished. Mosquitoes kill a lot of people every year and it is one of the few things we seem to turn a blind eye to.  Didn't scientist figure out that there is NO reason for us to have mosquitoes? That their ONLY purpose is to spread disease? 

 

If I were queen for the day I would declare a war on mosquitoes. I would talk to scientists and a few environmental specialist and figure out the best way to exterminate these creatures from the earth. Lets stop worrying about them, and actually get rid of them. Environmental considerations should just be that, considerations. This country was able to put a man on the moon, but we can't figure out a way to kill a tiny insect that kills thousands of people every year, without destroying the environment? Really?

 

To me this isn't an environmental problem, or a health care problem, this is a political problem. Why hasn't this been addressed years ago?

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I posted earlier that the sprays used by municipal areas in florida are lavacide, but after researching it seems they use a combination of adulticides and larvicides. These are sprayed from planes and trucks and some areas have a program where you can request someone come out and treat your yard as well. 

 

 

Yes, our home there backs up to a retention pond and some years the mosquitoes are just out of control and we would have them finding their way inside in large numbers. It's easy to request someone from the county to come out and treat, though. They would do extra treatments around/in the water as well as treat around our home. 

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We need to kill mosquitoes. We should worry about the rest when that goal is accomplished. Mosquitoes kill a lot of people every year and it is one of the few things we seem to turn a blind eye to.  Didn't scientist figure out that there is NO reason for us to have mosquitoes? That their ONLY purpose is to spread disease? 

 

If I were queen for the day I would declare a war on mosquitoes. I would talk to scientists and a few environmental specialist and figure out the best way to exterminate these creatures from the earth. Lets stop worrying about them, and actually get rid of them. Environmental considerations should just be that, considerations. This country was able to put a man on the moon, but we can't figure out a way to kill a tiny insect that kills thousands of people every year, without destroying the environment? Really?

 

To me this isn't an environmental problem, or a health care problem, this is a political problem. Why hasn't this been addressed years ago?

 

They are pollinators, for one thing. 

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Bats primary food source is not mosquitoes. I looked into it. We have woods behind our property. I thought maybe I should just put a bat house back there so I wouldn't have so many mosquitoes. Turns out bats eat mainly moths and other insects. Mosquitoes are on their list, but it isn't their primary food source. 

 

What other animals eat them? 

 

As far as plants, so they use plants and a by product of that using is pollination. I think I would rather rely on the wind.

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So does the wind, bees, birds, humans, animal tails... And what plant produces CO that Mosquitoes are attracted to?

 

Only the females are attracted to CO2, they need the blood to lay eggs. But their regular food is nectar. They pollinate many kinds of plants but there are some rare orchids particular that rely on mosquitoes for pollination. 

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We need to kill mosquitoes. We should worry about the rest when that goal is accomplished. Mosquitoes kill a lot of people every year and it is one of the few things we seem to turn a blind eye to.  Didn't scientist figure out that there is NO reason for us to have mosquitoes? That their ONLY purpose is to spread disease? 

 

There are some creatures that would go extinct if all mosquitoes were eliminated since mosquitoes (or, more often, the larva) make up the bulk of their diet.  For most creatures, mosquitoes are only a small part of their diet so eliminating them would be no problem.  The problem would be the ones that would likely go extinct because if mosquitoes go extinct, what else would go extinct or what other problems would their losses cause.  There are some plants that would suffer without mosquitoes, though the ones they pollinate are not crucial.  It's a delicate balance and it's been concluded that killing off all mosquitoes in some places would disrupt the environment too much.

Edited by Butter
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This is the one that carries Zika. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aedes_aegypti

 

Edited to add that it sure looks a lot like this one..I don't think I could tell by looking quickly. I hate these ones. And there was speculation on NPR yesterday that these could also carry and spread Zika, since they can carry dengue, etc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aedes_albopictus

Edited by ktgrok
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This is the one that carries Zika. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aedes_aegypti

 

Edited to add that it sure looks a lot like this one..I don't think I could tell by looking quickly. I hate these ones. And there was speculation on NPR yesterday that these could also carry and spread Zika, since they can carry dengue, etc. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aedes_albopictus

 

The latter one is the one that's everywhere here. That's what I don't understand about killing them all. They're an invasive species. If not for them, we'd have only a pretty small number of mosquitoes. It's like yanking up kudzu or English ivy. They should all go!

 

Good to know that's not the one that carries it... we think.

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The latter one is the one that's everywhere here. That's what I don't understand about killing them all. They're an invasive species. If not for them, we'd have only a pretty small number of mosquitoes. It's like yanking up kudzu or English ivy. They should all go!

 

Good to know that's not the one that carries it... we think.

 

I remember life before asian tiger mosquitos...and yes, it was better because you only got bitten at night. Now, you get bitten i the day if it is shady, which is NOT fair, lol. But I disagree that we wouldn't have many mosquitoes. A quick search showed epidemics of yellow fever in the 1800s in Florida and Dengue in the 1920s, well before the invasive species arrived. In fact, one document said Florida was considered by many to be uninhabitable year round even when statehood was being debated due mostly to the mosquito problem (and the diseases they carried). 

 

But I'm totally okay with eradicating Asian tiger mosquitoes. I truly hate them. And react much worse to them than the old fashioned ones we had growing up. 

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I'm reading that the Olympics may be in jeopardy.  We'll have to see about that, I guess.

 

I'm also reading...get your tin foil hats out... that in 2014 pregnant Brazilians were asked to get the Tdap vaccine in order to prevent a pertussis outbreak and that is a more likely a cause of the microcephaly.  

 

BUT that does bring up a good point, in that there really isn't evidence that it's Zika.  There may be something else entirely at play.... as other have said.

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The idea that we know enough about ecosystems to declare any part of them unimportant is pretty high on the hubris-meter I'd say.  Even invasive species can be tricky when it has to do with change of range over time rather than an actual introduction.

 

As far as Zika, there is a vaccination in development, and the scientists working on it hope to have it ready for emergency use in the fall.  But, if the cause is something different than they think, who knows how helpful it will be.

 

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I don't really think we can get rid of any or all species of mosquitoes completely so discussing whether we should is a moot point right now, although it's an interesting debate.  But I do think it's definitely worthwhile to reduce their population in areas where there are significant health risks from them.  It's part of the strategy for reducing the incidence of mosquito-born diseases.  I don't think we'd necessarily need to do anything significantly differently in the US.

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I'm surprised that this hasn't been discussed yet.

 

While the science is still out there seems to be growing evidence that the virus is the cause of the microcephaly. There's been discussions elsewhere about why it's blown up in Brazil: from "it's mutated" to because of an immune response. Disturbingly, there's been at least one documented case where the husband has transmitted the virus to his wife.

 

So, what are your thoughts?

I have not heard about it yet but that sounds scary. When viruses start being transmitted through humans it is not a good sign. That shows it is adapting and mutating and could be the next virus that will come through. Hopefully that is just a isolated incident and not the virus going through stage 2 where it can transfer through humans. Edited by MistyMountain
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It is strange that a virus that hadn't caused microcephaly - at all as far as we know - is suddenly now causing it to the tune of 4,000 babies from Oct 2015 to Jan 2016 (that's 4 months) when usually in the whole of Brazil there are only 150 cases.   That seems rather alarming.  Did the Zika virus really mutate so rapidly and in two countries in such a short time (40 weeks prior to Oct. 2015)??  Seems unlikely.  Seems like the science community is finding making some giant leaps without really knowing what is causing it.  I haven't seen one report that says "Hey!  We found the link between the babies and Zika.  It's mutated!".  

 

How many more babies in the next 4 months will be born with this awful disease  birth defect?

 

Which brings up another controversial topic(s): birth control and abortion.

 

I have no idea how Brazil feels about those topics.  But at this point it seems important to maybe revisit those topics if it is Zika.  Especially since there is evidence that a woman's husband/boyfriend could infect them.

Edited by Reflections
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I am active in pro-life circles and the topic of abortion in these countries where it is really frowned upon has already be mentioned. http://empowershop.net/zika-virus-may-prompt-pro-life-countries-in-south-america-to-legalize-abortion/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Empowershop+%28EmpowerShop%29

 

Still the question remains, since mosquito born illnesses kill 1 million people annually, and countless live stock annually, many of which are in countries that can't afford the livestock to die to illness, and scientist (who are creditable to get published in Nature 6 years ago) say that there is no reason for them, Why are we still debating this? 

 

If a group of people or a person were killing 1 million people every year, we would be at war right now. Why are we not at war with mosquitoes?

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Still the question remains, since mosquito born illnesses kill 1 million people annually, and countless live stock annually, many of which are in countries that can't afford the livestock to die to illness, and scientist (who are creditable to get published in Nature 6 years ago) say that there is no reason for them, Why are we still debating this? 

 

Because it's not that simple.  In an ecosystem where an organism gets nearly 100% or 100% of their diet from mosquitoes or mosquito larvae, to eliminate all mosquitoes means those organisms will become extinct as well.  Then any organisms that get nearly 100% or 100% of their diet from those creatures could then go extinct, and so on in a cascade.  There *is* actually a reason for mosquitoes in some places: to be food for the creatures that feed exclusively on them.

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Because it's not that simple.  In an ecosystem where an organism gets nearly 100% or 100% of their diet from mosquitoes or mosquito larvae, to eliminate all mosquitoes means those organisms will become extinct as well.  Then any organisms that get nearly 100% or 100% of their diet from those creatures could then go extinct, and so on in a cascade.  There *is* actually a reason for mosquitoes in some places: to be food for the creatures that feed exclusively on them.

Show me the proof that such organism exists. I have shared an article in Nature (HIGHLY respected, I know scientists and only know one person who has been blessed with a paper in that journal) that says that if they all died 6 years ago, that the world would go on.

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Show me the proof that such organism exists. I have shared an article in Nature (HIGHLY respected, I know scientists and only know one person who has been blessed with a paper in that journal) that says that if they all died 6 years ago, that the world would go on.

 

Google it.  http://www.mosquitoreviews.com/mosquitoes-purpose.html http://insects.about.com/od/flies/f/what-good-are-mosquitoes.htm  http://animals.mom.me/mosquitoes-valuable-ecosystem-8494.html

 

Some scientists say it wouldn't be a problem, others say it would.  Would the world go on if mosquitoes were eradicated?  Of course.  But it would also go on (and has) if many other species go extinct.  This does not mean ecosystems would not collapse or there could be unforeseen problems if it happened.

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Show me the proof that such organism exists. I have shared an article in Nature (HIGHLY respected, I know scientists and only know one person who has been blessed with a paper in that journal) that says that if they all died 6 years ago, that the world would go on.

 

Nature is highly respected, but the article you linked is a news article, not a peer-reviewed scientific paper. And within that article there is at least some controversy as to the possible effects of eradicating mosquitoes. From that article, "Views differ on what would happen if that biomass vanished. Bruce Harrison, an entomologist at the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Winston-Salem estimates that the number of migratory birds that nest in the tundra could drop by more than 50% without mosquitoes to eat."

 

It is hard to know in advance exactly how large an effect eradication would have. It's also possible that the act of eradication could have negative implications.

 

This article talks about some of the pros and cons:

http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-35408835

 

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What about ticks?  They too are transmitters of diseases - some of which we haven't identified yet - and I have yet to see where they are "beneficial".  But that doesn't mean that I'm just not understanding their importance.  Same with mosquitoes.  

 

I can't help but think of the Butterfly Effect theory. 

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Am I the only one seeing the anti-vax response to the zika/microcephaly connection on FB? I made the mistake of looking into a few unfollowed friends' FB pages, and that's what's popping up now. 

 

I've just seen a bit of it on teh baby group I'm on  on FB.

 

But, it's sort of inevitable I guess.

 

What is a bit funny in a sad way is that the people are saying "well, zika has never had this effect before, it must be the vaccination" without thinking that the vaccination hasn't had that efefct before either, and is a lot less likely to have somehow mutated.

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We need to kill mosquitoes. 

 

We do. We also prevent them from biting humans, from knowing the value of removing standing water, to chemicals, to wearing clothing and using screens, humans learn to co-exist with nature. We also need to share practical, relevant, accurate information regarding birth control, and termination of unwanted, or dangerous pregnancies. 

 

 Mosquitoes kill a lot of people every year and it is one of the few things we seem to turn a blind eye to.  Didn't scientist figure out that there is NO reason for us to have mosquitoes? That their ONLY purpose is to spread disease? 

 

By that same token, so do humans. Humans kill a lot of people every year, and they don't even do it necessarily for the purpose of feeding offspring. Humans often kill in order to defend superstitious beliefs, appease charismatic scaremongers, and simple greed. This is something completely foreign to the mosquito's nature, and completely innate in human nature. 

 

Or, one might argue, by this logic, the ONLY purpose of humans is to spread pollution. We have NO reason to perpetuate the species that is choking a living planet to death.

 

If I were queen for the day I would declare a war on mosquitoes. I would talk to scientists and a few environmental specialist and figure out the best way to exterminate these creatures from the earth. Lets stop worrying about them, and actually get rid of them. Environmental considerations should just be that, considerations. This country was able to put a man on the moon, but we can't figure out a way to kill a tiny insect that kills thousands of people every year, without destroying the environment? Really?

 

And if those scientists didn't tell you what you wanted to hear, what would you do with the information? Ignore it? Replace them with scientists who agree with you? Pay scientists to agree with you? Or would you incorporate new-to-you information into your proposals?

 

This country was able to put a man on the moon because science was valued, regardless of how little it may make sense to those who may not have significant scientific education and training. Today, not only is science undermined at an alarming rate, politicians advocate the idea that one's sincerely held beliefs are of more value than a systematic method of gaining actual knowledge. 

 

To me this isn't an environmental problem, or a health care problem, this is a political problem. Why hasn't this been addressed years ago?

 

Because people who are intimately familiar with the complexities of the issues haven't come to the same conclusion you have. 

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What is a bit funny in a sad way is that the people are saying "well, zika has never had this effect before, it must be the vaccination" without thinking that the vaccination hasn't had that effect* before either, and is a lot less likely to have somehow mutated.

 

 

The disconnect over such things always baffles me. I should be used to it by now, but it never fails to make me shake my head.

 

*Fixed your typo with the word effect. I hate when I notice a typo and go to fix it, but someone already quoted me. ;)

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I've just seen a bit of it on teh baby group I'm on  on FB.

 

But, it's sort of inevitable I guess.

 

What is a bit funny in a sad way is that the people are saying "well, zika has never had this effect before, it must be the vaccination" without thinking that the vaccination hasn't had that efefct before either, and is a lot less likely to have somehow mutated.

 

You, obviously, haven't been down the deep part of the rabbit hole then.  The Tdap vaccine was "recently" reformulated and pregnant women were ordered to start receiving it in 2015 to control a potential pertussis outbreak.  And, there's even been talk that only some distinct Brazilian ethnic group is receiving the tainted vaccine.

 

 

I'm sick. Stuck on the couch. I've got time on my hands.

 

However, what I'm trying to do now is track down the original source of the idea that it is this Tdap vac created by Bill Gates.  Because all the sites that are talking about it have the same talking points, but I can't find the one that started it all.  Although, it could be of foreign origins and then I'll never find it.

 

Oh, and it if does wind up being a mosquito borne illness?? Well, there are GMOs of those too to blame.

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 We also need to share practical, relevant, accurate information regarding birth control, and termination of unwanted, or dangerous pregnancies. 

 

Yes.  Because if it does wind up being Zika and Zika is known to be found in semen and urine, long after blood tests fail to detect it (like ebola btw) condom usage should be a high priority.  Also, there are larger issues though, of terminating the pregnancy, as I'm hearing that the microcephaly is usually not detected until later in the pregnancy.  And you know there's far more controversy about late term abortions than there is about first term.

 

But in a country like Brazil where I'm reading that screens are a luxury, I'm not sure that everyone will have access to birth control easily or at all.

 

In our US system, some changes would be legislated once people started suing or at least blow it up on social media and riot.  I have no idea how Brazil might work this.

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Link to a map showing where all the babies have been born.  http://outbreaknewstoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/brazil.png

 

Coincidentally, GMO mosquitoes where released pretty much right in the epicenter:  http://www.oxitec.com/press-release-oxitec-mosquito-works-to-control-aedes-aegypti-in-dengue-hotspo/

 

Question:  IF this GMO mosquito has really reduced the population of the mosquito that carries the Zika by 95% which according to Oxitec is

"well below the modelled threshold for epidemic disease transmission"

 

Then how is Zika even a problem?

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