The report issued by a group of doctors from Argentina denies the link between the Zika virus outbreak and microcephaly, the birth defect in which babies are born with smaller brains than usual.
The doctor argued that the Zika virus is not the one to blame. Instead, they accused a larvicide, that contains the chemical pyriproxyfen, as the responsible for the birth defects.
The chemical is used to control the mosquito Aedes Aegypti, which transmits the Zika virus from its bite, and kills its eggs in public water supplies, as reported by The Huffington Post.
Many academics have spoke out to refute the Argentinean report, which has already gone viral and spread all over the world. The report apparently has inaccurate information about Zika virus history and speculate about the timetables of microcephaly cases and the use of the larvicide in water treatment.
The viral spread of the report is considered dangerous by many because puts in doubt the methods used to control the mosquito that not only spreads Zika virus but dengue fever, chikungunya, and yellow fever as well. The doubt of the larvicide causes panic in people and delays the mosquito controls, that could lead to further spread of the disease.
The report has already caused a reaction in Brazil, where the virus and the birth defect have been seen the most. Although the government gave an official statement in which they dismissed claims of a relationship between pyriproxyfen and microcephaly, at least one state in the country has suspended its use.
“The mistake is not the position against or in favor of the larvicide, but to insist in causal inferences without evidence,” said Ligia Bahia, a public health expert at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, who also believes the report to be a distraction to the real issues.
Why ignore the report if it could actually lead to something?
The report does not actually gather any evidence of the link between the larvicide and the birth defect, but researchers have conjoined arguments to refute their allusions. For example, Pyriproxyfen is a very mild larvicide that for humans to see negative effects, they would have to drink 1,000 liters of water treated with the poison for mosquitos.
Another reason to ignore the newly claimed link is that the actual link of the Zika virus and microcephaly, although is not completely proven, has a strong connection. Even more assuring, The World Health Organization (WHO) have said that scientists are weeks away from confirming the Zika-microcephaly link.
Source: The Huffington Post