Saturday, February 18, 2006

Perhaps it is time to take a break

I was thinking of lots of other things this morning; such as the desire to eat samousas for breakfast, the lack of water even though it is raining and has done so for 24 hours, why there is a small disease ridden mangy kitten on my doorstep, when that great rainbow smile illuminating the folly of human existence brought me back to Chikungunya...

... nobody talks of anything else and yet nobody is prepared to accept responsibility for the epedemic or its resulting eco/enviro problems. The Journal the other day announced the 47 chik related deaths with a photo of the mosquito responsible and the huge banner "He kills".

Now, let us put this into some sort of perspective. One, this is not malaria (that'll probably turn up after bird flu and before anthrax) and most of all it is not really the Aedes mosquito that is too blame. What manner of heresy is this?

Chikungunya* is spread by the bite of an /Aedes /mosquito,
primarily /Aedes aegypti/. Humans are thought to be the major
source, or reservoir, of *chikungunya* virus for mosquitoes.
Therefore, the mosquito usually transmits the disease by
biting an infected person and then biting someone else. An
infected person cannot spread the infection directly to other
persons (i.e., it is not a contagious disease).

The Aedes has been around for a long time and is even to be found in Europe and, of course, throughout the tropics. However, it is not the mosquito that manufactures the virus as a biological weapon in its fight against humanity. Oh no, no it is we the human that carry the virus and the Aedes is merely the messenger. To put it another way, if a human didn't have the virus it couldn't be communicated by the mosquito to another human. One does not kill the postperson, nor the whole postal infrastructure, merely because the postperson brings bills.

Of course we can always take precautions that there are not too many postpersons...

Because humans act as very efficient reservoirs for the virus,
*chikungunya* is most prevalent in urban areas. Epidemics are
sustained by the human-mosquito-human transmission cycle.
The /Aedes /mosquitoes that transmit *chikungunya* breed in a
wide variety of manmade containers which are common
around human dwellings. These containers collect rainwater,
and include discarded tires, flowerpots, old oil drums, animal
water troughs, water storage vessels, and plastic food
Widespread poverty, year-round tropical climate, environ-
mental disturbance due to war or natural disaster, and lack of
public health infrastructure are all factors that promote
uncontrolled mosquito breeding and are conducive to
outbreaks of *chikungunya*, or other mosquito-borne diseases. (ibid)

So, if this analogy is all proving a bit to obscure try thinking of it like this:

If you don't want to receive gas bills in the post, don't use the gas. If you insist on using the gas, electric, water, telephone etc etc then we will need a bigger postal service and you will receive more and more bills.

Look, I have no idea where the chik virus comes from nor where it is going to. Diseases are a fact of life and, like the plague, it is us - you and me - that create the conditions for their proliferation. Now, what was it in the "Matrix" about the human race being akin to a virus?

TB wasn't almost eradicated in the West due to the introduction of antibiotics but to the increase in education, social welfare and good drains! If it is returning in the West in a bigger, better and more ugly form it is not the fault of a clueless bacteria but a clueless and irresponsible humanity.

By all means squash the mosquito but do not expect it to be responsible for all our woes.

Tomorrow I shall think more about cats...

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