35 Facts (and Controversies) About Zika

Certain types of mosquitoes can carry Zika virus.

Updated Fri. July 29

CDC Zika Information

Chances are some of these Zika-related facts are news to you

1. On July 29, CDC reported the first”likely” Zika cases possibly transmitted by mosquitoes within the continental U.S. Zika has been brought into the U.S. by those who travelled to Zika-infested countries. These infected travelers are bitten by mosquitoes upon their arrival in the U.S. during a short infectious period, then Zika spreads to U.S. mosquitoes and residents.

2. At least 1,657 travelers infected with Zika have come into the continental U.S. as of July 27, which is why CDC expected Zika to eventually become a locally-transmitted disease.

3. The largest number of Zika cases are in New York (449), Florida (307), California (87) and Texas (76).

4. One U.S. Zika case was “lab-acquired.”

CDC says serious illness from Zika virus is uncommon.

5. Blood and/or urine tests can confirm Zika infection.

6. Zika virus has been around in other countries since the 1940’s.

7. Zika is considered one of the mildest mosquito-borne viruses.

8. At least 80% of people who get Zika don’t become sick and have no symptoms.

9. For 70 years, Zika wasn’t linked to microcephaly birth defects. The link was made only after a 2015 rise in microcephaly in Brazil coincident with a Zika outbreak.

10. Brazil originally counted 4,180 cases of Zika-related microcephaly from Oct.-Dec. 2015. Experts later ruled out Zika and other infections in a majority of cases.

11. An Argentina doctors’ group said Brazil’s rash of microcephaly was noticed shortly after some communities began using the larvicide “Pyriproxyfen” in drinking water. “It’s a hypothesis, a probability,” Dr. Medardo Avila Vazquez, a pediatrician in Cordoba, Argentina and main author of the report told NPR. “And for us, it’s more likely that it’s the chemical larvicide and not Zika.” (“Pyriproxyfen” is also spelled “Pyroproxyfen” in some publications.)

Read the Argentina doctors’ report on Pyriproxyfen

12. After the report by the Argentina doctors, one Brazilian state announced it would stop putting Pyriproxyfen in drinking water.

13. The doctors’ group said it received a letter from Monsanto threatening legal action, because the company said the doctors unfairly linked their company to Pyriproxyfen, made by Sumitomo Chemical Company. Monsanto says it doesn’t sell or manufacture Pyriproxyfen; it is simply a Sumitomo business partner.

Read the NPR report on why medical experts say there’s no concern about Pyriproxyfen

14. Sumitomo Chemical released a statement reiterating Pyriproxyfen’s safety, saying it poses minimal risk to birds, fish and mammals.

15. Some chemical/pharmaceutical interests and medical authorities attacked the Argentina doctors’ report, said there was no cause for concern about Pyriproxyfen, and said it’s safe to drink at low levels. Other Pyriproxyfen supporters launched a campaign to declare concerns about it “rumor” and a “debunked,” “ridiculous” “conspiracy theory” by “cranks.” Those defending Pyriproxyfen include a propagandist known for promoting pharmaceutical industry interests: David Gorski a/k/a “ORAC.”

WHO says

WHO says there’s no cause for concern about Pyriproxyfen in drinking water.

16. This dispute over Pyriproxyfen led to an edit war on Wikipedia.

17. Doctors say there’s no “smoking gun” that links Zika to microcephaly, but that all the evidence taken together indicates there’s an association.

18. Normally, microcephaly in the U.S. occurs in as many as 1 in 833 live births.

19. The President of Colombia announced there are plenty of Zika cases there, but no related microcephaly issues.

20. There are more than 3,500 species of mosquitoes. Zika is primarily spread by just one, which isn’t found in most U.S. states.

21. Within the continental U.S., the primary Zika-spreading mosquito (Aedes aegypti) is common only in Florida along the Gulf Coast.

22. Zika symptoms may include joint pain, swelling and conjunctivitis.

23. You’re not supposed to spray bug repellent on skin under clothing.

A pregnant woman applies mosquito repellant. Photo: CDC

24. The Obama administration has requested about $1.9 billion to fight Zika.

25. Half the requested taxpayer funds are for Zika projects outside of the U.S.

26. Human travelers from Zika-ridden countries are not being screened for U.S. entry…but primates are. Monkeys and apes imported into the U.S. undergo a mandatory 31-day quarantine period on arrival.

27. Microcephaly birth defects are not reported in monkeys and apes with Zika.

28. Once antibodies develop, a person or primate can no longer spread Zika. Humans are believed contagious for about a week.

29. Zika is not considered a fatal disease. CDC says it only “very rarely” contributes to death.

30. The U.S. has declared an emergency even though no Zika has been transmitted in the continental U.S. That’s in stark contrast to the larger, deadlier EV-D68 and AFM outbreak in 2014 that received little attention.

The nationwide EV-D68 AFM outbreak paralyzed at least 115 children and killed at least 14. But there was no emergency funding request, and CDC deflected questions and slow-walked a Freedom of Information request about the outbreak.

31. Zika can rarely, possibly cause Guillain-Barré syndrome, in which the immune system attacks the nerves causing paralysis. So can some vaccines, according to CDC, including flu vaccine and swine flu vaccine.

Zika and some vaccines can rarely cause Guillain-Barre paralysis. Photo: CDC

32. Some in the health sector have questioned a possible link to mirocephaly and Tdap vaccine introduced into the regimen for pregnant women in Brazil in late 2014.

33. The World Health Organization dismisses the possibility of a Tdap vaccine link saying the Brazilian government has one of the most stringent health regulatory authorities in the world.

34. At least 15 companies have been working on developing a Zika vaccine.

35. Congress and the Obama administration agree that at least $140 million to $200 million tax dollars should go to Zika vaccine development.


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15 Responses to “35 Facts (and Controversies) About Zika”

  1. Frederick Partik
    June 25, 2016 at 6:10 pm #

    People are under the impression that the ZIka virus is newly discovered. Wasn’t the Zika virus patent applied for in 1948 by the Rockefeller foundation?

    • Bud Parker
      July 22, 2016 at 7:30 pm #

      There is huge money in treating illness. Curing ailments prevents their occurrence, stopping the cash flow. The Rockerfeller Foundation filed the patent on the Zika virus in 1948.

  2. Phyllis23
    June 29, 2016 at 8:43 pm #

    The frauds, the scams, the lies and the outright sinister goings on in the world is astounding. Those pathetic rulers of the world affairs are playing chess with human beings as the pawns. In the grand scheme of things, we are many but fail to unite effectively to cut the head off the snakes. It is time to kill the snakes.

  3. John Edwards
    July 8, 2016 at 4:49 am #

    Thanks for the great update.

    An interim report of an important epidemiological study is here; http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1604037#t=article

    The June 2016 report provides information of 1800 pregnancies in Columbia for which clinicians have complete data on the trimester of infection. Importantly, 532 of those studied contracted the infection in the first trimester, likely the most critical period of ZVD infection with respect to embryogenesis.

    The results of the first-trimester infected subgroup will be known in the next few months. From what I understand, Pyriproxyfen is not widely used in Columbia, so the data might well be telling.

  4. tom
    July 9, 2016 at 2:41 pm #

    would not be surprised at all if the zika virus was just a false cover for the real cause of the birth defect, whether chemical or pharma. These companies own our governments, so not a big leap at all, and if its anything to do with monsanto… its gonna be evil. what a world…

  5. Joe
    July 29, 2016 at 4:01 pm #

    Just one more excuse to dip into empty Federal coffers for BILLIONS in emergency funding. I understand the EARLIEST we could have a vaccine in human trials is late 2017, or later. Sad.

  6. Frederick Young
    July 30, 2016 at 3:50 pm #

    Thanks Sharyl! By now everyone should be very skeptical of ANYTHING they read in the mainstream news media today, and ESPECIALLY things that the Obama administration RECCOMENDS, particularly when it come to spending tax payer’s money.

    This elitist administration is NOTORIUS for recommending things that’ll make their FRIENDS and LOBIISTS rich. After reading her book and following her for almost two years now, I’ve come to trust Sharyl’s work very much.

    • Sioux
      August 25, 2016 at 3:00 pm #

      Obama needs mo’ money to send to Iran…

  7. Shannon Koenig
    August 1, 2016 at 3:36 pm #

    Dear Ms. Attkisson,
    Thank you for your outstanding original reporting, for stories such as this one. I am not able to find contact info on the website, so I assume the best way to reach you is through these comments.

    I would like to bring your attention to the latest report from Bev Harris of Blackbox Voting, where she assesses the capability of the GEMS system to rig elections. Jon Rappaport has covered the story at his website today (Aug 1). Obviously this is an important story that needs widespread coverage by credible journalists. I hope you will bring it to a wider audience.

    Shannon K.


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