Letter of the Day: Don't let ZIKV hysteria drive abortion debate
THE EDITOR, Sir:
It's official! ZIKV is a global emergency! The world is in a tizzy, and with some 4,000 suspected cases of microcephaly in Brazil, almost everyone and his wife are just about freaking out, bringing up in the minds of many the issue of abortion. Now more than ever there is a humongous need for accurate and honest information, which at this point is still lacking.
Here is what we know about ZIKV and microcephaly. There is a dramatic difference so far between suspected and confirmed cases. Of the 4,180 suspected cases of microcephaly in Brazil as of January 29, 270 children with microcephaly have been confirmed. This is still more than two times the reported base line of microcephaly of 142. Of the confirmed cases, only six have been linked to ZIKV, which doesn't mean there isn't an association, but just that it is difficult to find the actual scientific evidence, like the viral particles.
This disparity is because of a combination of increased awareness, the resulting search for microcephaly, and media confusion regarding the concept of suspected versus confirmed cases. There is also the possibility that the reported microcephaly base line of 142 cases is itself an underestimation.
With the recent revelation of Ana Carolina Caceres, a Brazilian journalist diagnosed at birth with microcephaly, demonstrating the potential for a scientifically unpredictable normal life, how is killing these babies really justified?
We have to also keep this discussion in context. Six thousand babies are born annually with Down's syndrome, having serious neurological, cardiovascular and other effects. Should we kill these babies? It is a useful human predisposition to help and not kill the ill.
The abortion industry and the atheistic ideology that if the baby is sick enough, or inconvenient enough, you should kill it, is more a global emergency than even ZIKV.
Let us take the time to gather and critique the information, push for further research, increase mosquito eradication, quarantine suspected cases, and be cautious as we seek to navigate the way forward, making ideologically sound and well-informed decisions.
The Ministry of Health, the media and everyone that has ever been bitten by a mosquito have a big role to play. If you think you have ZIKV, please don't sit there and let all of us get it. See a doctor.