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CDC Bets Farm on Zika Based on Conclusion of Rasmussen, Jamieson, Honein & Petersen Paper

scientist with test tube dressed in hazmat suit

Dr. Frieden comes across as being as definitive as he can be on the Zika-microcephaly link. He hasn’t allowed himself much wiggle room in the event that he and the CDC researchers are shown to have been overly anxious to make the connection and, in their haste, may have missed something along the way.

The following is the first half of a two-part article on the Rasmussen, Jamieson, Honein & Petersen paper used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to confirm a causal link between the Zika virus and the neurological birth defect known as microcephaly.

On Apr. 13, 2016, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confidently announced that its scientists had concluded that, “after careful review of existing evidence,” the Zika virus was indeed “a cause of microcephaly and other severe fetal brain defects.”1

Within hours, articles appeared in major newspapers around relaying to the world the important news. A headline in The New York Times read, “Zika Virus Causes Birth Defects, Health Officials Confirm,”2 followed by “CDC Confirms Zika Virus Causes Microcephaly, Other Birth Defects” in The Washington Post.3 There was “Zika Definitely Causes Birth Defects, U.S. Officials Announce” by TIME magazine4 and “It’s Official: Zika Virus Causes Birth Defects” by NBC News.5

The CDC attributed its confirmation of a causal link between Zika and microcephaly to a paper written by Sonja A. Rasmussen, MD, Denise J. Jamieson, MD, MPH, Margaret A. Honein, PhD, MPH, and Lyle R. Petersen, MD, MPH and published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) titled “Zika Virus and Birth Defects—Reviewing the Evidence for Causality“.6 All four researchers are CDC employees.

Dr. Rasmussen is the director of the CDC’s Division of Public Health Information Dissemination and editor-in-chief of the agency’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.7 Dr. Jamieson is the chief of the Women’s Health and Fertility Branch in the Division of Reproductive Health.8 Dr. Honein is the chief of the Birth Defects Branch at the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities.9 Dr. Petersen is the director of the Division of Vector-Borne Diseases at the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID)10 

The Rasmussen, Jamieson, Honein & Petersen paper affirms just about everything the CDC says and does with regard to the Zika issue. The importance of the study cannot be overstated, at least from the CDC’s position. TIME magazine quoted CDC director Tom Frieden, MD as saying:

This is a study that marks a turning point in the outbreak. It is now clear, the CDC has concluded, that Zika does cause microcephaly. … There is still a lot that we don’t know, but there’s no longer any doubt.4

Dr. Frieden comes across as being as definitive as he can be on the Zika-microcephaly link. He hasn’t allowed himself much wiggle room in the event that he and the CDC researchers are shown to have been overly anxious to make the connection and, in their haste, may have missed something along the way.

If the Rasmussen, Jamieson, Honein & Petersen paper’s conclusion is correct, then the hundreds of millions of dollars (perhaps eventually billions) the U.S. government and international health organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO) are in the process of spending on Zika research and the development of a vaccine against the virus will be generally viewed as worth the investment.

If, however, the report’s conclusion is incorrect, then Dr. Frieden will have serious egg on his face and would likely face calls for his resignation, and the credibility and reputation of the CDC will be tarnished infinitely more than it was following the Swine flu debacle in 197611 and the Ebola virus scare in Texas in 2014.12 13 14

Note that there have been several studies and reports that are at variance with the Rasmussen, Jamieson, Honein & Petersen paper.

ELAMC Report

First, there was report by the Latin American Collaborative Study of Congenital Malformations (ECLAMC). The authors of the report, researchers Jorge Lopez-Camelo and Ieda Maria Orioli, wrote in their summary that they were unconvinced of the Zika-microcephaly connection in Brazil.

In summary, when we ask ourselves if there is a microcephaly epidemic in Brazil, or if there is a causal relationship between maternal infection with the [Zika virus] and children born with microcephaly, we face problems in all epidemiological steps to clarify the Rumor.15

MPF Report

Then there was the report by Médicos de Pueblos Fumigados (Physicians in the Crop-Sprayed Villages), or MPF, of Argentina which linked the microcephaly cases in Brazil to the pyridine-based pesticide Pyriproxyfen, not Zika. According to the report:

A dramatic increase of congenital malformations, especially microcephaly in newborns, was detected and quickly linked to the Zika virus by the Brazilian Ministry of Health. However, they fail to recognise that in the area where most sick persons live, a chemical larvicide producing malformations in mosquitoes has been applied for 18 months, and that this poison (pyriproxyfen) is applied by the State on drinking water used by the affected population.16

The report cited an association of doctors and health researchers in Brazil called the Asociación Brasileña de Salud Colectiva (Brazilian Association for Collective Health), or ABRASCO,17 which confirmed18 19 that the widespread use of chemicals in Brazil was “contaminating the environment as well as people,” and that the fumigation strategy was a “commercial manoeuvre” by the international chemical industry “deeply integrated into Latin American ministries of health as well as WHO and [the Pan American Health Organization].”16

Brito Study

A small study involving 151 patients who tested positive for Zika was performed by neurologist Maria Lucia Brito Ferreira, MD of Restoration Hospital in Recife, Brazil. Only six, or four percent, of the patients developed neurologic symptoms consistent with autoimmune disorders affecting the central nervous system. That means that 96 percent of the patients did not experience brain problems.20 According to Dr. Brito:

Much more research will need to be done to explore whether there is a causal link between Zika and these brain problems.21 

NECSI Report

On June 22, 2016, New England Complex Systems Institute (NECSI) of Cambridge, MA issued a report raising questions about a causal link between the Zika and microcephaly. The report cited a Colombian study of 11,944 pregnant women which found no cases of microcephaly. That study was supported by the Colombian National Institute of Health and the CDC.22  According to NECSI:

In light of this evidence, NECSI says the cause of microcephaly in Brazil should be reconsidered. One possibility that has been raised is the pesticide pyriproxyfen, which is applied to drinking water in some parts of Brazil to kill the larvae of the mosquitos that transmit Zika.23 

Brazilian Study

An article was published in the The BMJ (originally known as the British Medical Journal) on Aug. 11, 2016 titled “Brazil to Investigate If Other Factors Act With Zika to Cause Congenital Defects.”24  In it, author Cláudia Collucci writes:

… scientists in Brazil have been puzzled by the fact that cases of congenital Zika syndrome have clustered in the north east part of the country, and that the expected surge in cases elsewhere in the country has not happened. … Of the 1749 confirmed cases of microcephaly or other central nervous system birth defects, 85% were concentrated in the north east…24 

Collucci quotes Fatima Marinho, who is the coordinator of epidemiological analysis and information at the Brazilian Ministry of Health, as saying:

We started to think that in this area [northeast] maybe something more than Zika is causing this intensity and severity.24

The Brazilians appear to sense that blaming the Zika virus for the supposed spike in microcephaly cases during the past year doesn’t add up. Why would there be such a huge concentration of microcephaly in one region of the country when Zika can be found throughout Brazil?

The Brazilian government, unlike the CDC, may finally be waking up to the likely possibility of environmental factors being the cause. Brazil’s northeast region is the fastest economically developing area of the country. Enforcement of environmental regulations—when they exist at all—is lax. Lots of industrial and agricultural chemicals are used. Lots of pesticides, larvicides, and herbicides, including the highly toxic Agent Orange.25 26

Remember all those Agent Orange babies in Vietnam?27


References:

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC Concludes Zika Causes Microcephaly and Other Birth Defects. CDC.gov Apr. 13, 2016.
2 
Belluck P, McNeil DG. Zika Virus Causes Birth Defects, Health Officials Confirm. The New York Times Apr. 13, 2016.
3 
Sun LH. CDC confirms Zika virus causes microcephaly, other birth defects. The Washington Post Apr. 13, 2016.
4 Sifferlin A. Zika Definitely Causes Birth Defects, U.S. Officials Announce. TIME Apr. 13, 2016.
5 Fox M. It’s Official: Zika Virus Causes Birth Defects. NBC News Apr. 13, 2016.
6 Rasmussen SA, Jamieson DJ, Honein MA, Petersen LR. Zika Virus and Birth Defects—Reviewing the Evidence for Causality. N Engl J Med 2016; 374:1981-1987.
7 CDC. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR)—MMWR Staff. CDC.gov.
8 CDC. Denise J. Jamieson, MD. CDC.gov.
9 CDC. Margaret (Peggy) Honein, PhD, MPH. CDC.gov.
10 CDC. Lyle R. Petersen, MD, MPH. CDC.gov.
11 Roan S. Swine flu ‘debacle’ of 1976 is recalled. Los Angeles Times Apr. 27, 2009.
12 Nocera J. Failures of Competence. The New York Times Oct. 17, 2014.
13 Vox F. Why CDC chief must go. CNN Oct. 16, 2014.
14 Weiss J. Jeffrey Weiss: Here’s how the CDC can restore its reputation after Ebola scare. The Dallas Morning News Nov. 8, 2014.
15 Lopez-Camelo JS, Orioli IM. ECLAMC Final Document. Nature Dec. 30, 2015.
16 Avila Vazquez M and Team REDUAS. REPORT from Physicians in the Crop-Sprayed Villages regarding Dengue-Zika, microcephaly, and mass-spraying with chemical poisons. Red Universitaria de Ambiente y Salud Feb. 3, 2016.
17 Robinson C. Argentine and Brazilian doctors suspect mosquito insecticide as cause of microcephaly. Ecologist Feb. 10, 2016.
18 Robinson C. Zika or Insecticide Pyriproxyfen Behind Microcephaly Cases? The Freedom Articles 2016.
19 Reis V. Nota técnica sobre microcefalia e doenças vetoriais relacionadas ao Aedes aegypti: os perigos das abordagens com larvicidas e nebulizações químicas–fumacê. ABRASCO.org Feb. 2, 2016.
20 Cáceres M. Brazilian Study Unable to Determine Causal Link Between Zika and Brain Disorders. The Vaccine Reaction Apr. 14, 2016.
21 Zika Virus May Now Be Tied to Another Brain Disease. American Academy of Neurology (press release) April 2016.
22 Cáceres M. New Report Questions Causal Link Between Zika and Microcephaly. The Vaccine Reaction June 30, 2016.
23 New doubts on Zika as cause of microcephaly. Science Daily June 24, 2016.
24 Collucci C. Brazil to investigate if other factors act with Zika to cause congenital defects. The BMJ Aug. 11, 2016.
25 Perlman C. Amazon facing new threat: Agent Orange. The Guardian July 14, 2011.
26 Covert A. Brazilian Ranchers Using Agent Orange to Illegally Clear Out Rainforests. Gizmodo July 6, 2011.
27 Newton J. Four decades after Agent Orange – heartbreaking pictures show even now babies in Vietnam are being born with horrific defects. Daily Mail Apr. 29, 2014.

12 Responses to CDC Bets Farm on Zika Based on Conclusion of Rasmussen, Jamieson, Honein & Petersen Paper

  1. Donna Reply

    September 17, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    I recently listened to an interview with Dr. Tyrone Hayes who proved that Atrazine – a common pesticide manufactured by Novartis – triggers breast cancer. Novartis also manufactures Letrozole which blocks estrogen and is used to treat breast cancer. Isn’t that a conflict of interest? Dr. Hays has written a book about what he went through – so far – A Valuable Reputation. 90% of seeds are owned by pesticide companies.
    I am trying to let people know about the recent CDC overreach on their NPRM and how they propose to detain people who are suspected of having a contagious anything – like measles or chickenpox. How do I tell people without sounding like a nutcase?

  2. Christina Reply

    September 15, 2016 at 3:36 pm

    Hmmmm..sounds like some US company may have sold the toxic pestcides to South America (CYA). And or CDC is looking to force another vaccine.

  3. Marie Reply

    September 15, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    When it comes to autism, the “slogan” of the medical system and the CDC is that “correlation does not equal causation” (meaning that if a child gets an MMR shot and regresses into autism, that doesn’t prove it was the vaccine that caused autism).

    Why is it a different story when it comes to the zika virus and microcephaly? They, the “experts,” seem to believe that if a woman has had the zika virus and has a baby with microcephaly, that proves that the virus caused the microcephaly. It seems more likely to me that it was the larvicide that was put into the drinking water (or maybe other pesticides in the environment) that was the cause of microcephaly in northeast Brazil. They don’t seem to be scientific in rushing to the conclusion that the zika virus causes microcephaly.

    What will happen if a vaccine against the zika virus is developed and then mandated? It could be a disaster.

    • Angela Coral Eisenhauer Reply

      September 19, 2016 at 6:17 am

      Well if correlation doesn’t mean causation, how does CDC explain:

      all the microcephalic “”epidemic”” babies in Brazil, had mothers given Tdap shots in pregnancy. I was told the actual number is now way over 5,000.

      FOUR out of those 5,000 had zika ………….

      So look at it this way, if 5,000 all ate the same stew, all got sick, and four had a mossie bite, would any rational person blame four mossies, for 5,000 sick? Well CDC does.

  4. craig a munson Reply

    September 15, 2016 at 11:32 am

    if zika (sexy name)) can cause birth defects, how come the most common virus of all THE COMMON COLD doesn’t cause any birth defects? Why is it only journalists, congress and cdc scientists believe in the idiotic and asinine notion that zika (sexy name) or any virus for that manner can cause any birth defect. Maybe thadilomine was secretly a virus.

    • Redpill1 Reply

      September 17, 2016 at 6:54 am

      Why is it only journalists, congress and cdc scientists believe in the idiotic and asinine notion that zika (sexy name) or any virus for that manner can cause any birth defect. Maybe thadilomine was secretly a virus.

      They don’t necessarily believe it and if they have 2 functioning brain cells they now it’s not true BUT they are paid to play. If the want a job they will write and post what the CDC & pharma tells them to.

  5. Robert L . Wachsmuth s Reply

    September 15, 2016 at 7:04 am

    CDC and FDA Controlled by the Mentally ILL ,that’s my Scientific Evaluation .

  6. Karen Reply

    September 15, 2016 at 12:49 am

    Okay. Zika causes Microcephaly. I recently read that the same thing can happen if a pregnant woman is overexposed to Monsanto’s Roundup. Where is the scare on this? Why not? If Roundup causes the same thing, why isn’t it headlines too? Let me make a silly guess – MONEY! Corporate American does not care about people. The CDC misses nothing. They don’t care either!!!

  7. Redpill1 Reply

    September 11, 2016 at 2:38 pm

    Remember all those Agent Orange babies in Vietnam?

    Let us not forget all the Agent Orange Veterans still suffering today.

  8. Redpill1 Reply

    September 11, 2016 at 2:35 pm

    Zika Virus and Birth Defects — Reviewing the Evidence for Causality.

    I can’t believe that reputable researchers would put their name on that piece of mumble jumble. My Incredible Opinion with Forrest Maready put it concisely so people don’t have to wade though the CDC medical jargon that can be misleading. This is the paper the CDC is using to claim that ZIKA causes Birth Defects: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfrMHnU6xwM.

    I have written the transcript out for those who may want to have it available:

    The paper: Zika Virus and Birth Defects — Reviewing the Evidence for Causality http://www(dot)nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMsr1604338
    says:
    1.Zika infections are rare. Birth defects are rare. So: if you have both than ZIKA must cause birth defects.
    2. Number of other causes of birth defects researched: 0
    3. Traveling to an area with Zika infection than having a deformed baby is also proof. Whether the Mom was diagnosed with Zika or not.
    4. Number of other possible causes of deformed babies investigated: 0
    5. The study also cites two limited small studies of Zika as proof . One study was of 72 pregnant women with Zika. 12 appeared to have fetal abnormalities. Some findings lacked postnatal confirmation. They don’t say “how many”.

    ***The second study looked at a Zika outbreak in French Polynesia.
    1. Number of babies born each year with microcephaly: 2
    2. Number of babies born that year with microcephaly: 8
    3. Number of other possible causes of microcephaly investigated: 0
    4. An increase from 2 to 8 babies born with microcephaly was cited as evidence showing Zika causes birth defects.
    http://www(dot)who.int/emergencies/zika-virus/situation-report-26-02-2016.pdf.

    SUMMARY OF BOTH STUDY’S PROTOCOLS OR LACK OF:
    – Zika was confirmed as the cause without looking into whether that country started any new pesticide programs.
    -Zika was confirmed as the cause without looking into whether that country changed their diagnosis of microcephaly. (FYI-they did)
    – Zika was confirmed as the cause without looking at whether more babies were diagnosed simply because doctors were told to look for it. (FYI-there were)
    – The entire paper cites ZERO SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH that proves Zika causes birth defects.
    – You will not find what you are looking for WHEN ALL THE STUDIES AND RESEARCH ARE SPECIFICALLY LOOKING FOR A ZIKA CONNECTION.
    -And none of them are looking into other factors for a possible cause.
    *****ZIKA IS THE ONLY ANSWER THEY WILL EVER FIND.*****

    This is what the American scientific community has digressed to. A stunning fall from integrity.

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