The Zika Scare

We caught the virus, but so glad we didn't fall for the hype

Wendy and I considered canceling our 25th Anniversary trip to Puerto Rico due to the on the Zika Virus. But then we dug into research, and deduced that it would be ridiculous. The media was hyping up a scam, and the government was blowing the flames.

Who at the CDC came up with this brilliant advice?

“Don’t let mosquitoes bite you.” Who at the CDC came up with this brilliant advice?

Our trip was awesome, and we didn’t hold back a bit. We camped on a beach, walked Old San Juan, went snorkeling, and even hiked a tropical rain forest. Needless to say, we got a lot of mosquito bites.

But the headlines. If you read them, you may wonder why on earth we didn’t flee the northern hemisphere. Consider:

These headlines are scary, and the reports terrifying. Hold these images you have in your mind for a moment. They reflect a reality that I try very hard to convince people: resist the hype of the media…especially when the government is leading the charge.

That last in the list above is most disturbing. Watch the press release of the CDC officials. Can you catch the hype?

They admit at the beginning that they do not know much about Zika (“we are learning more and more every day”), yet they feel confident to speculate that “hundreds of thousands” are infected in Puerto Rico. The first official is followed by a second insisting that the CDC needs $1.8 billion to fight back Zika. “We need $1.8 billion!”

If I were to stop at the CDC’s rhetoric, I would stay home. But I did some research. Before we left for our vacation, it took me literally 10 minutes to discover:

  1. Adults hardly ever suffer from symptoms, very mild if they do.
  2. Mosquitos can be avoided with simple mosquito repellant.
  3. There have been only 30 confirmed cases this year in Puerto Rico.

Hardly “scary,” not “hundreds of thousands,” and likely not worth “$1.8 billion” to fight.

Let the research guide you. Ignore the hype. And enjoy Puerto Rico.

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Victoria Wilder

    So, you actually had confirmation that you caught Zika? That’s what your title implies. First off, while I agree with your assessment that the CDC is possibly being overly cautious, I also believe your subjective experience and lack of independent, objective finding is equally problematic.
    1. Zika can affect anyone and while acute stage symptoms are often mild, it doesn’t mean they’re not problematic.
    2. Fewer acute symptoms doesn’t necessarily equate to mild, potential damage. Just because you don’t suffer immediately doesn’t mean the virus isn’t incubating and causing the host to become an unknowing carrier. The CDC has already shown, as has the WHO, that the viral load of Zika can influence body fluids for up to three years (and that’s just the limit of the known).
    3. It has been demonstrated and replicated in controlled subjects that Zika can be transmitted and that that transmission to a female of childbearing age puts her fertility and pregnancy outcomes at risk.
    4. Being outside isn’t the issue. The mosquito that carries Zika is, primary, an indoor mosquito. You were more likely to contract the virus in your hotel room or a restaurant than you were on the beach. Most people don’t bother with OFF or DEET between shower and bedtime.
    I’m glad you went on your trip. I just think making proclamations that Zika fears are ridiculous and you caught it, when you didn’t, is wrong.