The Zika Virus Conspiracy Debunked
Every time there is a new virus in town, conspiracy theorists around the world start making the wackiest hypothesis ever. Al though a lot of them sound very legit, the ones surrounding the recent Zika Virus outbreak at Brazil does not. Here is a list of all the conspiracies I have read about so far and why they are not true.
1) Genetically Modified Mosquitos: An anonymous reddit user blamed a UK-based small company, Oxitec for the Zika virus outbreak, and the theory went viral within a few days. Oxitec started releasing genetically engineered male-sterile mosquitoes in 2011 in north-eastern in hopes of eradicating dengue, but this GM mosquitos supposedly caused the Zika outbreak. However, the increase of Zika along with the rise of GM mosquitos has a lack of proof, and the link between the two is also false. Firstly, the GM mosquitoes have been released far away from where the Zika outbreak began. Secondly, the very same mosquitoes have also been at large at the Cayman Islands, Panama and Malaysia, but there has been no known cases of a microcephaly surge there. Additionally, the mosquitos were engineered to die soon after birth so they will not even live long enough to spread the virus by feeding off humans.
2) The Pesticide Theory: A group of doctors from Argentina claim that Brazil’s sudden increase in microcephaly cases is by a mosquito larvicide made with the pesticide pyriproxyfen, and not by the Zika Virus. They released a six page report saying that the very areas of Brazil where the chemical is being mixed in drinking water has the highest amount of microcephaly cases. The report instigated such fear and uproar that one of the states in Brazil actually banned the use of this chemical in water. However, Sumitomo Chemical, the Japanese chemical company that makes pyriproxyfen, says that according to their research, the chemical no effects on the reproductive or nervous systems of mammals. The chemical has also been in use in 40 countries for the last 20 years, and it has not been linked to any micricephaly cases before. Another report shows tha,t even places that does not use pyriproxyfen in their water has high amounts of micricephaly cases. “the amount of pyriproxyfen in drinking water is tiny and the chemical quickly expelled from the body in urine”, says the WHO, pointing out another whole in this theory.
3) Vaccines: There is probably a bottomless pit of conspiracy theories surrounding the use of Vaccines. Many websites are telling that Zika has been spread through the vaccines that governments claims are “preventive measures” for diseases, and not the mosquitos. The entire theory is a part of a larger conspiracy regarding depopulation. However, since the vaccine in question is basically given to all the pregnant mothers around the world, the theory makes little to no sense.