Talking about the Zika virus, some medical professionals have said that Brazil and international health officials have taken the decision too early to declare an association between the mosquito-borne virus and the rise in birth defects.
Some have even argued that the Brazilian government has been irresponsible on the issue, considering that the link hasn’t been scientifically proven between Zika and the birth defect, called microcephaly, which causes infants to take birth with abnormally tiny heads.
Alexandre Dias Porto Chiavegatto Filho, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Sao Paulo, Latin America, said, “It’s a global scandal. Brazil has created a worldwide panic. I’m not saying that Zika is not causing microcephaly, but I am saying that the ministry has yet to present any scientifically credible evidence to support that conclusion”.
According to Chiavegatto and many others, there are still many unanswered questions for blaming Zika. Why Brazil faced a huge number of microcephaly cases? Why the number hasn’t been that high in other countries, like Colombia? As per some experts, Brazil was the first one to be hit by the Zika virus, and microcephaly cases could peak elsewhere in the coming months.
Moreover, how can one reach on conclusions on the basis of government statistics that have been flawed and probably greatly underreported previously, before Brazilian officials ordered doctors to report microcephaly cases?
An article was published by the Annals of Internal Medicine on Wednesday, in which 14 Brazilian and American researchers said that the association between the virus and microcephaly ‘is presumptive’. They added that the strongest evidence is circumstantial, and there are challenges in confirming the link.
However, Brazilian Health Minister Marcelo Castro recently said that he is ‘absolutely sure’ of a casual association between Zika and microcephaly.