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tv   Open Phones with Donald Mc Neil  CSPAN  March 12, 2017 7:57pm-8:31pm EDT

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donald mcneil will be late to the live interview. enjoy your evening. thanks for coming. [inaudible conversations] the tvs live coverage of the tucson festival of books continues any minute, donald mcneil you just saw on the panel will be joining us to take your call. 20202 is the area code 748-8200 if you're in the eastern central
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time zone. we have been live from the university of arizona all day long from the gallagher theater, lots of different author panel lots going on on the outside as well here in the quad area of university of arizona. ten hours of live coverage, everything you've seen today will repeat tonight beginning at midnight. donald mcneil according to science and health reporter for the new york times and according to the notes here he specializes in plague, pestilences and we look forward to talking to him about that form of reports and correspondence in africa and europe. mr. mcneil, is zika a new disease? >> no. it's thousands of years old but
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it was discovered in uganda in 1947. then it pretty much disappeared. there was some awareness that it was widespread in africa, in those days there was no routine tasks. you had to inject hundreds of mice with different antibodies to find out what was killing the mice. it then sifted to asia in the 1960s, we don't know when and then sometime in the early 2000 it began crossing the south pacific. print up on yap in micronesia that the americans lost and they realized it was a mild disease. print up in front polynesian 2013 and the french local polynesian investigated that
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outbreak and realized that there was a problem with gammaray syndrome. it's a temporary plow. they didn't notice any problem with babies. it was when they got to brazil in early 2014 that people were nervous about this new disease and thousands of people were getting killed, but they were mildly ill. when they realize it was zika the health administrator said it was good news. we thought it was something truly dangerous. nine months later did all these babies start turning up at hospitals in northeast brazil and they realized it was something terrible. >> had the pdc been tracking zika coming across the south pacific. >> yes. but they track hundreds of diseases all the time. we get samples of flu from all over the world from the father in northern sears. we tracked bird flu, animal diseases, the cdc and the world health organization, you don't
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know which diseases going to be the one that causes the problem. i had a doctor who wrote a paper in 2009 that predicted the next epidemic in america and zika was in that paper. but it was down in the also. so far no big outbreak. connect the subtitle of your book is the emerging epidemic. it's not an epidemic yet? >> yes it's endemic in africa and asia but it epidemic in the western after the fact how are currently infected? >> you only stay infected for a couple of weeks. it's impossible to know. right now, were in winter beginning of spring in the northern hemisphere so there's no transmission going on in the northern hemisphere.
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probably transmission going on in some places in brazil and down south where it summer but they had such a big academic that people may be immune to it and when you have wine spread immunity you have heard immunity. you have to wait to a lot more children are born and people who have not had the virus to get a big second wave. >> how prevalent is zika in the us right now? >> not very. except in puerto rico but were not sure how many people got infected, a quarter of the population may be a little bit more but the blood work has been done to know the answer but from what it looks like that's true. there was an outbreak in miami there was an outbreak in texas but it didn't spread beyond that. they were isolated cases all over the country but those are people who had traveled to areas that had zika transmission and
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came back. it's mostly people who have traveled where it's been transmitted. >> donald mcneil is our guests and he's is a science and health reporter for the new york times and his phone number if you'd like to call in and talk about academic entities (202)478-8200 and for those of you in the eastern central time in (202)748-8201 if you live in the mountain pacific time. as i mentioned earlier you specialize in plagues and pestilences. do you have favorites? there are certainly some that my colleagues won't let me talk about at lunchtime while reading. they'll talk about zero writing a bit wary about this famous ballplayer or i'm doing a terrific piece about the trumpet ministration or whatever and no
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one wants to talk about what i'm talking about. i don't want to hear about cholera or aids or mineral diseases. i write about plagues and pestilences. i don't write about heart disease, cancer, when i came to the science section in the times i have been writing about aids and there were already several reporters on the fence at the time on the time were writing about most of the things that americans died of and i said let me write about what people in the world are dying of, malaria, worm diseases, tuberculosis, also the diseases. >> why aren't those is prevalent in the us as they are in other parts of the world? >> we are richer. we had houses that have windows and screens and air-conditioning mosquitoes can't come in.
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testing bugs can't come in. within five can't come in. but our troops can get some of these in baghdad. troops living in tents often got bit. there's a great deal of protection that comes from screens, windows, clean water and someplace for your poop to go. so that you're not living in anybody's, that's how you get polio, most federal diseases. connect your colleague at the door new york times advocated for the return of ddt to prevent malaria. >> you have to look at that sort of specifically. the use of ddt -- it was a fantastic chemical for doing
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things like stopping epidemics but the problem is that it became so popular that it was over spread on every crop in the american south, on every fruit crop and so the levels of it built up in eggs and birds and people too. dangerous levels. there was a big backlash against it. using it indoors on the walls of houses, or huts where mosquitoes rest before they take a meal is a great way to kill a mosquito. we can fight malaria that way. you do not want to go back to sprained ddt on the laminate. >> you have to look at the individual mosquito. the mosquitoes that spread zika became immune. in the 1940s and 1960s ddt almost killed them but the gene
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for resistance emerged in them and it spread out to virtually everyone in the western hemisphere. >> were you amazed at the full house that you had for talking about epidemics and diseases? >> other authors might have gone bigger audiences. people worry. yesterday when i -- people were asking if i go to costa rica should i worry. look, get her medical advice from doctors into, even though i'm not a doctor or reporter you look like the chances of getting pregnant are really low even though i'm not a doctor [it was a little too much medical advice last night. >> were going to take some calls and i'm going to have you put that cord underneath the hand so we don't take your microphone off so people can hear you and frank in indianapolis you're up
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with donald mcneil. >> guest: thanks for taking my call. i became interested in malaria and was wondering how important and what advances have been made in making it earlier diagnosis in particular in the field? >> guest: there has been made huge progress in the field. malaria is still about a million people a year most of them children under five. it's now down to about 400,000 kids a year, year, mostly children under five in africa. the old way of diagnosing malaria is that you had to get a blood sample and put it on the microscope line and look for the parasite in the microscope. that meant you had that somebody who was trained to do that in the area and you had any working microphone. now there are rapid tests that work about as fast as a pregnancy kit. you prick your finger, you put
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it on the kit, you put in a reagent and a line appears whether or not you're positive. new drugs have come out for malaria that are quite fast acting and effective. unfortunately, some resistance to those drugs began to emerge in southeast asia and the cambodia area. but were hoping it's not going to try to africa. if not, will need a new drug. >> host: where you travel do you take the anti- viral? >> guest: usually not. i sometimes carry but i'm not seen anyone else to do that. i don't spend nights and nights and nights sleeping in huts. i will often be out in the field and then go back to the hotel where there screens and air-conditioning. it's not every mosquito bite that gives you malaria. maybe one out of a hundred. i don't fret but i also carry a test kit that i can do myself and i carry the malaria
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medicines with me. i usually don't take the prophylactic medicine but i carry it with me if i get it. if i do get malaria i know what to do. >> host: the next call comes from cc in portland. you're on book tv. [inaudible] it seems like every person has had the flu shot, what changed, what has happened. you have a compromise immune system and you're a healthy person what's wrong with getting the flu and getting over it?
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>> i have interviewed -- >> she was not a mom, because she -- she was a pregnant woman. got the flu in 2009. the year of the swine flu. people said it's mild. pregnancy lowers your immune system and you don't want the
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mother's body to reject the baby's body which has a different dna so the mother's immune system is dense depressed and it's urgent that women who are pregnant get flu shots. >> next call from georgia in scotts bluff, nebraska. good afternoon, georgia. >> caller: good afternoon. i wanted to ask dr. mcneill about guillain-barre. my husband is unable to use his legs. it's his upper body. he's pretty much made a full recovery. he has had ivig, plasma exchange, physical therapy. so i would -- my question is, what are, in your opinion, his chances of fully recovering or even recovering enough to help
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him to the bathroom, stand beside a sink, just maybe transfer from one -- from the wheelchair to the bed or the toilet or whatever. >> guest: mam, the first of all, i'm not a doctor. i'm a reporter. so i would not venture an opinion. even if i were a doctor, responsible doctor would not give an opinion about your husband without having examined him. everybody's recovery from -- it's an autoimmune reaction. in some supreme it's mild. i had a colleague at work who god over it, recovered completely. some people do not recover. i can't say anything about your husband's case. i'm sorry. >> host: how does one catch or get an autoimmune disease? >> guest: you get something else and then your body counter attacks it actually begins to attack you.
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gee an -- dish if you eat undercooked chicken and it has sam mel -- salmonella, one possible side effect is guillain-barre. it's rare. it's a dish don't remember the numbers. it's one in a million, one in many thousands. shouldn't sit round -- it's a terrible thing if it happens but don't curtail things you do, we're all at risk of getting it at some time or another. there have been some vaccines that triggered guillain-barre reactions. the 1976 swine flu shot may have -- but may have been a report can error it's not -- they didn't know what the
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background rate was so when everybody is looking for a disease you find more cases than you would when you're not looking for it, and those cases may by there anyway. when they had a giant government sponsored vaccination campaign they started paying attention and they found this. but the risk of guillain-barre always exists. >> host: we're in the desert in tucson could shoo we worry about different things here thatdown do in manhattan or i do in washington? >> guest: absolutely. heat exhaustion among other things and worry about the strange valley fever. that's a airborne -- i think -- either a mold or fungus that sometimes comes from disturbed sights. it's common in southwest. we don't have it in new york. you have hunta viruses carried in mouse droppings but we having
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thises in new york you don't have here. one, you don't freeze to death and there are lot -- we have probably tend to have more flu and other cold, -- cold-web site diseases. the zika risk in arizona is real. i talked to an entomologist from the university yesterday. you have zika cases to the south, and it is possible that the virus will eventually get here in those mosquitoes and people need to pay attention. it would be an extremely bad thing if pregnant women in this down got zika and the public health authorities ought to pay attention to it. you don't want to find out you have zika nine months later when the babies are born with birth defects. >> host: next call, another call from nebraska, doc in albion.
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>> guest: i was interested in the challenge to bureaucracy to get the government to make a decision on zika, and i experienced the same thing here in nebraska when i tried to get them to look the mosquitoes i was killing for the west nile virus. and their final conclusion was that they didn't really want my mosquitoes because it would throw off the numbers they were already working with for years. with coffee can samplers, one per county mitchell theories they should go after the vector. if ddt didn't wasn't, find a new chemical itch'll get off the air. thank you. >> guest: okay. i'm not sure there's a question in there. i have to know what year this was. west nye -- west nile virus is endemic across the united states.
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we have a herd immunity against west nile virus and it's cropped up in places like dallas had a bad outbreak two or three years ago. you went normally take a mosquito sample from somebody who has is squashed against their windshield. have to know details about what happened. >> host: donald mcneill's book is called "zika, the emerging epidemic." the next call is from joe in pittsburgh, pennsylvania and. >> caller: mr. mcneill itch want to ask you about the ebola virus. i understand the federal government spent a great deal of money on the -- weren't too many cases of the ebola virus. >> guest: well, there is no cure. there is a vaccine against it. it's too bad that vaccine wasn't ready ten years ago because it -- that vaccine was designed
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ten years ago by a doctor in texas, proven to be safe in humans and worked in monkeys, but because there was no money to be made on the vaccine nobody went ahead and made a few million doses which have been helpful when it happened in africa. it don't know what you mean by not many cases. 11,000 people in west africa got ebola. 6,000 of them died. that's a pretty substantialout break, and it did come to the united states and killed somebody in texas and before he dried he transmitted to two i'm poo. and ebola is a horrific death. so, you don't want a disease like that spreading. you don't want a disease like that changing so it can spread more easily inmakes do in mosquitoes or through sneezes. in bieb -- ebola you have to have physical contact or contact
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of vomit or feces. if you know the disease is around in your town you'll take precautions. don't at all subscribe to the idea the government overreact explode ebola and there was no threat. wish dish think they underreact ford ten years and should have been more ready. somebody wanted to spend the hundred million to a billion dooring to get the vaccine ready to go and fortunately the gates foundation and the welcome trust and the brits brits and more norwegians and japanese are putting $500 million into making vaccines guess lasa fever, and mirr. if they get lose, you will hear about them and very good the vaccines were started. >> host: is the cdc responsive?? the sense -- it's a large organization. can it still be nimble?
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they're quite nimble. more than the world health organization. it's definitely not instant. i decide have struggles with the cdc over why they were not issuing travel warnings as soon as it became very clear -- we talked about an epidemic spreading in latin america and the caribbean in january when people head to caribbean, pregnant women and women on their honeymoons and i was like why aren't crew telling those women to 0 not go. it took them two weeks to issue the warning. could have happened fasterment two weeks is fast for some buschcracys and real she when you're worrying about a deadly disease. >> host: donald mcneed, i aids an old disease or newer disease. >> guest: aids is a new disease. its probably made the jump from chim been -- shim pan
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chimpanzees to humans in the -- the combination of two viruses from monkeys -- and those are both monkeys that chimpanzees eat. they actually eat monkeys. probably some unlucky chimpanzee eight one of each of those kinds of monkeys, cut himself or herself in the mouth while crunching up the bones and that chimpanzee got a virus that was a blend of those two viruses and started spread neglect chimpanzee population. it's new to them because it killed them. it doesn't cull the monkeys so it was in monkeys for thousands of years and they adapted. the ones ones who were vulnerabe died off, and those who were immune repop rated the area.
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le a.i.d.s. kills chimpanzees cs and gorillas and people. >> host: are there potential other new diseases out there that could make the jump at some point? >> guest: tons. somewhere between hundreds and thousands. there's a project out there to try to find every virus in every animal in world. bats -- not to say anything against bat. they extremely useful eating insects but carry a lot of viruses. they're bats are the source of one of the dangerous sores of mrs. mers but they make the jump from bats to cats in china and people. in mrs they made the jump from bats to camels. people in saudi arabia and arabian peninsula keep caminiti
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-- camels for racing and beauty camels and keep them as pets especially in january and february when the camels calf, you get the mers virus and some people get and it go to a hospital and may die in the hospital but often pass it on to doctors and nurses or other patients. >> host: has brazil done a good job containing zika? >> guest: no. zika is all over brazil and have not been able to stop it. no city in the western hemisphere has successfully stopped the spread of zika except miami, and miami stopped a very small limited outbreak in three neighborhoods, and they did it by multiple, multiple applications of pesticide, adult -- that kills adults adults ane in the water and going to people houses to throws these tableted in swimming pool and get rid of
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standing water. miami is the best city in the world for fighting mosquito-spread diseases. >> host: peggy in denver go ahead with your question or comment. >> caller: yes. i've never heard anybody say what the life expectancy might be for the mike mike -- mike row -- mike row enreceive lite tuesday. >> the answer is every child i would different. there's no way to generalize. maybe mothers the children die in the womb after the zika infection, miscarriages. some children are born and live a few hours. a lot of the children have one seizure after another and
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ultimately die of disruption of heart rhythms of breathing. a lot of kids born with badly formed jaws and airways so they end up with aspirational pneumonia and die of that. some live and may live -- if they don't die of something like pneumonia or don't die of infected bed sores from being unable to move, the thing that happens to member who is bedridden as happened to christopher reeves. if that doesn't happen to them they may live many years but will -- in most cases the most receive severely faked ones will never be able to talk or recognize the people around them, never be able to communicate, probably have no memory. basely missing their entire forebrain, the seat of learning, the seat of emotions and everything else.
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0 what we used to rudely call vegetables. >> host: yous in north carolina, go ahead. >> caller: hi, doctors mcneill. this is joyce and i appreciate you taking my call. i'd like to ask you about a problem that the people in this area -- i'm sure other places -- are having right now. in fact my friend in virginia, granddaughter's school has been closed because of some of this whatever it is. and early 2016, i came down with something that the doctor never put a name to, and i had it for about six months off and on. it would go away and come back and go away and come back and at that time i had five rounds of antibiotics and about four rounds of cortisone. it helped at built but i never really felt well and never got rid of the cough --
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>> host: joyce, i have -- i apologize. i apologize. we have to leave it there. ...
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we appreciate their hospitality and their hosting us. we appreciate the opportunity to be down here in tucson, next year's the tenth anniversary. thank you very much for joining us this weekend

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