Zika virus and rumors get SciCHECKED! @factcheckdotorg

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Scicheck has fact checked ZIKA virus and some recent statements from politicians in a great article, “the facts about Zika.” The main focus is the connection between Zika and the birth defect microcephaly. Check out the full article, but below is a sort of conclusion at the end of the article:

The point is, much is still not known about the possible relationship between the Zika virus and microcephaly. There is evidence that the two conditions are positively correlated within certain areas of Brazil and possibly French Polynesia. While strongly suspected, scientists and health officials have little direct evidence to support a causal link, but that’s due, in part, to the nature of Zika and microcephaly diagnosis. Lastly, Zika does appear to target the brain, but some scientists say much more mechanistic research needs to be done to confirm a causal link between the virus and microcephaly.

In short, much is still unknown about Zika, microcephaly and their possible link. The WHOdeclared the outbreak a public health emergency for precisely this reason — to “coordinate international efforts” to better understand the two conditions’ potential relationship and to control Zika’s spread.

SciCheck also has the answer to people who might think the recent spread of Zika might be related to GMO mosquitoes (which it is not). Read the full article for the background on both the rumors and the GMO mosquitoes themselves, which are pretty awesome!!

The rumor that GM mosquitoes could be behind the Zika outbreak in Brazil began on Jan. 25 with a Reddit thread titled: “Genetically modified mosquitoes released in Brazil in 2015 linked to the current Zika epidemic?” Some media outlets, including Fox NewsThe Ecologist and The Daily Mail went on to spread the rumor. Some websites, such as Natural News, cited the involvement of Bill Gates. (The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation provided $19.7 million for a project to develop and test GM mosquitoes, according to Science.)

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