How Zika Got the Blame Article in link by Marco Caceres.

In early 2016, the CDC began to suspect a link between Zika and Microcephaly due to two placenta samples of babies who sadly died, but they admitted that additional studies with lab testing that may take years to complete was needed. As of April 1, 2016, the CDC, NIH, PAHO, and WHO, all agreed there was insufficient evidence to state that Zika causes Microcephaly.

Magically, in two weeks time, after numerous papers were published stating that large prospective studies following pregnant women infected with Zika were needed, they made an about face and stated emphatically that the existing evidence was now sufficient to state Zika causes microcephaly.

What happened in two weeks?

Were hundreds of thousands of hours spent in the lab testing women and babies?


Here’s what happened.

They took one paper (Rasmussen, Jamieson, Honein & Petersen)  and plopped it into a scientific formula called Shepard’s criteria which was developed by a pediatrician in 1994. Ironically, even Dr. Petersen, the director of the CDC’s division of vector-forne diseases, and one of the four authors in the paper initially denied a causal link.

Oh, by the way, did I mention that all the authors are CDC employees?

What is Shepherd’s criteria? Glad you asked.

1) Proven exposure to the agent at one or more critical times during prenatal development.
2) Consistent findings by two or more high-quality epidemiological studies, with control of confounding factors, sufficient numbers, exclusion of positive and negative bias factors, prospective studies if possible, and relative risk of six or more.
3) Careful delineation of clinical cases; a specific defect or syndrome, if present, is very helpful.
4) Rare environmental exposure that is associated with rare defect.
5) Teratogenicity in experimental animals important but not essential.
6) Association should make biologic sense.
7) Proof in an experimental system that the agent acts in an unaltered state.

The researchers agreed that only 1, 3, and 4 of the criteria had been met.

There have been numerous Brazilian studies and reports questioning their conclusion.

The Author of the opinion piece asks some important questions: should criteria from twenty years ago be used to prove causality when numerous other factors have been proven to cause birth defects, and why should a historically harmless virus become abruptly virulent?

I’d like to add to the list of questions: why is the CDC hellbent on whooping Zika up into a national health crisis when we have plenty that are far more prevalent (Lyme Disease/MSIDS, opioid addiction, and antibiotic resistant bacteria, for a start). How can the CDC on one hand determine causality from two fetal samples when there are literally scores of studies – many animal – that show borrelia persistence despite antibiotic therapy? Why are ancient studies on everything from possible vectors/reservoirs to transmission times, to diagnostic myths such as mandatory EM rashes held in sacred honor and used to continually refute any information to the contrary?

And when are scientists finally going to admit they are often being used to further agendas that are neither impartial nor transparent?

For more on Zika: