‘Dirty water’ could cause Zika in US
Public health officials in Florida and Georgia have linked a rise in Zika cases to dirty water used in some locales.
Key points:Dirty-water contaminated homes and water supply are being linked to the outbreakPublic health officials say there is no link between Zika and dirty waterDr.
Robert Lee, an infectious disease specialist at the University of South Florida, says there is a strong connection between the virus and the bacteria found in the water.
Dr. Lee says the bacteria can cause microcephaly and birth defects.
He says the CDC’s response to the Zika outbreak has been slow.
“There is not a lot of information out there about the risk of Zika infection in the environment.
The CDC has been very hesitant to acknowledge the link between the two,” he said.”
The virus is transmitted from person to person, but it is transmitted primarily by direct contact with the virus.”
He said a recent study found that the same bacteria can be transmitted to humans through drinking water and other sources.
“It is not the case that people drinking dirty water have been found to be carrying the virus,” he added.
“So the CDC has not been able to make that connection and have had to make the connection based on the symptoms that we’ve seen in people who have come in contact with contaminated water.”
Dr. John Kaptchuk, a public health epidemiologist at the George Washington University Medical Center, said that although it is not clear whether the link to dirty drinking water is a direct cause of the increased cases, it is a significant cause.
“If you look at the other areas that have the increased rate of cases, that is also consistent with that,” he told CNN.
“We know that there is increased transmission when there is contaminated drinking water in a community.”
He added that although there are several theories about why the infection is increasing, there is also an increase in cases linked to warmer temperatures and an increase of mosquitoes.
“That suggests that it is related to changes in mosquito breeding and population, as well as changes in water quality,” Dr. Kaptchuk said.