GAINESVILLE, Ga., Feb. 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Article after article tells us that no one really saw the Zika virus coming. But that's simply not true. Landmark research from the Socionomics Institute presented compelling evidence that "mosquito-borne viruses endemic to the tropics," such as Chikungunya and dengue fever, were expanding their range. Their 2009-2015 studies, headed up by Senior Researcher Alan Hall, also showed clearly how major epidemics over the past several hundred years –ranging from London cholera, Spanish flu, polio, HIV/AIDS, SARS, H1N1 flu to Ebola – all shared one common feature: they erupted after large, extended declines in stock prices.
Do stock market declines make people sick? Socionomists don't think so. Instead, they think benchmark stock indexes indicate trends in social psychology. When people become pessimistic and fearful, they sell stocks. Then, they cut back on economic activity. Research shows that both changes in the stock market and changes in the economy precede changes in public health. When societies get depressed, they are more likely to get sick.
Hall and his team surveyed 300 years of stock market data and found that long periods of zero-to-negative net change in stock markets tend to precede major epidemics. The chart below shows their findings with respect to Brazil, currently one of the worst-afflicted Zika countries (Click here for access to five other charts that show this relationship between stocks and epidemics.)
If Zika were Brazil's only threat today, it would be easier to dismiss this theory. But the rising susceptibility is also evident in the concurrent epidemic of microcephaly, and in the increasing incidence of dengue, Chikungunya and the paralyzing nervous disorder, Guillain-Barre syndrome. Lax hygiene has brewed a toxic stew of viral and bacterial pathogens in Rio de Janiero's Summer Olympics water venues.
Changes in social mood are directly linked to public health. If the majority of stock markets across the globe continue to trend sideways to down, Hall says society should, "Get set for more Ebolas, more Zikas and more 'unexpected' threats to public health." Click here to see the full version of this free article.
SOURCE The Socionomics Institute