While the Oxitec controversy swirls around us, precious time is being wasted. Time that could be put to use to push back against Zika. Why is that important? Because the CDC has determined that Zika causes microcephaly and other severe fetal brain birth defects!
Until last Friday evening, it had not been revealed that Zika may already be in Monroe County. Mosquito Control Board, Vice Chair, Steve Smith, revealed for the first time that at least one probable case of Zika is under investigation by public health authorities. Smith made the reveal during the Hometown PAC event. What is a surprise is that Smith is dead set against deploying Oxitec.
One must also wonder why Mr. Smith chose to release this confidential information. Information such as this is within the purview of public health authorities, not the mosquito control board. Such information is usually closely held by the public health authorities. It is reported that the information concerning the suspect Zika case had been shared with the Mosquito Control Board commissioners by public health official with an admonition that it be kept confidential. Nonetheless Mr. Smith chose to release the confidential information. It is telling that he chose to so do during an interview at a political gathering. Mr. Smith is a is a candidate for re-election.
The dreadful reality of Zika being in our homes should be no surprise. There are nearly 200 Zika cases reported in Florida, about 40 involve pregnant women. Miami/Dade and Broward County harbor more than half of those cases.
Many who are aggressively opposed to the use of GM/GE in vector control for Zika are being mislead and manipulated by some prominent members of the local power establishment. The power brokers motive is simple. They fear that their property values will be negatively affected by the Oxitec initiative. These individuals value their profits over public health.
The Oxitec initiative will not cure any disease…it is a prophylactic measure. Currently there is no vaccine against Zika. There are vaccines under development, but these are but a hope for the future, and in any event these vaccines are the products of GE/GM. Products that would be injected directly into your body. There is chatter about a bacteria that may contribute to vector control. That research is immature, ready only for small scale testing monitored by the EPA, not the FDA.
Deploying the Oxitec initiative is prudent, and safe. Those who push back against it are putting our community health at risk.
Big Pine Key