Brazil's Rise in Deformities Due to 'Chemical in Water, not Zika'
By Daily Telegraph | Published: 16th February 2016 08:02 AM |
RIO DE JANEIRO: Health officials in Brazil have dismissed claims that a larvicide used in drinking water could be responsible for a rise in cases of microcephaly, instead of Zika virus, after one state suspended use of the chemical.
A report by Argentinian group Physicians in the Crop-Sprayed Towns suggested pyriproxyfen, which is used to control the Aedes aegypti mosquito, could be associated with the condition, which impairs foetal brain development. It said the substance had been introduced into drinking water supplies since 2014 in affected areas of Brazil.
Some experts have raised questions over what is behind the Brazilian surge in microcephaly, particularly due to the absence of a similar rise in cases in other areas hit by the virus. Others say it has been grossly over-reported in Brazil. The country has registered f 2,852 suspected cases, but of around 1,200 investigated, just 462 have been confirmed. Evidence of Zika infection was found in just 41 of the affected babies.
Last week, researchers in Paraiba, one of the worst-hit areas, said the state had seen high numbers of microcephaly cases since 2012, with the condition more common in 2014 than last year, when Zika was first recorded in Brazil.
But the WHO says a definitive link between Zika and the condition is within weeks of being confirmed.