From The Guardian:
One of the world’s leading virologists has warned against public hysteria surrounding the Zika virus, saying global health authorities need to focus more broadly on prevention of infectious diseases rather than finding a cure for specific outbreaks.
Leslie Lobel, an Israeli physician who has worked with the US military and the Uganda Virus Research Institute to try to find a vaccine for Ebola, believes public panic over epidemics can cause more damage than the diseases themselves.
Most of the current alarm focuses on a suspected link between Zika and a foetal deformity known as microcephaly, which leads to babies being born with abnormally small heads. In Brazil, where there has been a rapid increase in reported cases of both Zika and microcephaly over the past six months, the government is convinced there is a causal association. The World Health Organisation has declared a global health emergency.
But many scientists, including Lobel, say the evidence is not yet conclusive. “It’s not clear that what’s going on in Brazil is linked to the Zika virus. There’s no definitive proof that Zika is causing microcephaly. I believe the hysteria is way ahead of the research or the facts about the pathology surrounding this virus,” he said in a telephone interview.