Jamaica is facing an epidemic, the Chikungunya virus, like it has never seen before in its history.
Contrary to reports, there are thousands of people in Jamaica with the chikungunya virus; not the measly 37 that’s been officially report. Our hospitals, medical centers and clinics are filled with ailing people, walking around like patients with severe arthritis. From screaming babies, wailing children, moaning adults and contorted elderly folks; everyone is catching this debilitating disease.
Politicians and doctors are now saying, “It is endemic to Jamaica”. For all who do not understand that word, it means it is as Jamaican as ackee and salt-fish. Presently Jamaicans are displeased with the government, for not being better prepared to adequately deal with the situations. Anxiety is high, morale is low and no one wants to know what would happen to our almost 3 million citizens if visited by the Ebola virus.
To be informed, is to arm ourselves against the Chikungunya virus.
See The Chikungunya virus FAQ, courtesy of chikungunya.in:
1. What is Chikungunya?
Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted through mosquito bites. It is usually seen in tropical areas.
2. Who can get infected with Chikungunya?
Anyone can get infected with Chikungunya virus. The virus infection can be serious in new borns and in old people.
3. What are the symptoms of Chikungunya?
Main symptoms are high fever and joint pains. Joint pains can persist even long after recovery from the disease.
4. After infection, how soon I will see symptoms?
Chikungunya symptoms are seen after 1 to 12 days of infection. In rare cases, no symptoms are seen. The symptoms get worse in case of old people.
5. Is there any treatment for Chikungunya?
There are no vaccines or medicines for Chikungunya. Medication is done to reduce symptoms and pain.
6. How can I prevent Chikungunya infection?
Chikungunya is transmitted by mosquito. Taking various steps to minimize mosquito bite is the only effective prevention technique.
7. Can I get Chikungunya from another person?
No. Direct human to human transmission is not possible. The disease is transmitted from one person to another only through mosquito bites.
8. Is Chikungunya fatal?
No. Human immune system is capable of recovery from this disease in almost all cases. But it might take a while for the symptoms to disappear, especially the joint pains. But the outbreak at Reunion island is suspected to have caused 200 deaths. The risk is higher for older people.
9. What is the impact of Chikungunya infection during pregnancy?
Pregnant woman can get Chikungunya infection at any stage of pregnancy. The chances of passing the infection to fetus is very less. If the pregnant woman is infected at the time of delivery, the virus can be transmitted to the new born child. If a new born is infected the risk is considerably higher. So it is important to ensure that in Chikungunya areas pregnant woman is protected from mosquito bite.
10. Is it ok to breast feed if the mother is infected with Chikungunya?
Currently there is no evidence that Chikungunya virus is transmitted through breast milk. Again the best defence for the child is to use mosquito nets and repellents to reduce the risk of mosquito bite.