A Viral Story Links The Zika Crisis To Monsanto. Don’t Believe It.

A group of doctors in Argentina calling themselves the “Physicians in Crop-Sprayed Towns” have issued an explosive report that denies global scientific consensus on the Zika virus outbreak and its apparent link to an uptick in cases of the birth defect microcephaly in Brazil.

The doctors allege that instead of the mild mosquito-borne Zika virus, the increase in microcephaly cases is caused by a larvicide that contains the chemical pyriproxyfen. This larvicide is employed in mosquito control efforts against the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, the type that can carry Zika, including using it to kill eggs in public water supplies.

Since its release on Feb. 3, the doctor’s 6-page report has spread like wildfire across the Internet, first cropping up in news sites run by GMO and environmental watchdogs and then finding mainstream coverage in outlets like the U.K.’s Telegraph and the New York-based Tech Times. Even actor George Takei shared the story, garnering about 25,000 Facebook likes and almost as many shares.

There’s one problem: the report is completely wrong.

Not only does the report convey inaccurate information about Zika virus’ history and speculate about the timetables of microcephaly cases and the use of the larvicide in water treatment, but it ends in a diatribe against other types of mosquito control efforts. Given the clear need for mosquito control to prevent further illnesses — and not just Zika, but also dengue fever, chikungunya, and yellow fever – this isn’t just ill-conceived, it’s actually dangerous.

“The effect of this [report] to cause panic in people, and to prevent an effective response to disease carrying-vectors, is a very substantial negative,” said Ian Musgrave, an expert on neurotoxicology and pharmacology at the University of Adelaide. “If they wanted to control —> Read More