“Sir, They Want Blood”

While the world is distracted with the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, Guyana is dealing with it’s own outbreak –Chikungunya. This virus is sweeping through many parts of the Caribbean and South America, and Guyana is no exception. In the course of the month that I’ve lived in this country, I’ve watched as multiple people that I know have become ill with the virus. The most difficult part of living here while an outbreak occurs is that no one seems to know much at all about Chikungunya.

The first thing I want to know is, why isn’t the government doing everything in it’s power to control the virus? If hundreds of people are contracting the virus in the most populous city in the country, why isn’t more being done to counter the danger? I’m pretty sure Chikungunya is spread through mosquitoes, but I’ve also heard that it could be air-born. I’ve heard that once you have it, you develop an immunity. I’ve also heard that you can contract it over and over again. I hear that the mosquitoes that carry the virus are “day biters”, I’ve also heard that they only bite at night. I hear that the illness will last a week, I’ve also heard it will last months. I hear the side effects of the illness will last eight years, three years, a few months…

As I said before, no one seems to know much about Chikungunya. All I know for sure, is that the people I know who have contracted the illness have suffered fevers, joint pains, and swollen ankles and wrists. One woman continues to suffer, even after having had Chikungunya months ago. Here I thought moving to Guyana would have me hoping and praying not to get Malaria, but it turns out, there’s a new monster in town. A new monster, one that is filled with a whole lot of mystery.

I’ll keep wearing my bug spray!

2 thoughts on ““Sir, They Want Blood”

  1. Yikes! Hope you brought enough bug spray with you. Maybe long sleeve dress shirts will be helpful. Hopefully, mosquitos are not attracted to you! Thanks for keeping up to date. Praying for you!

  2. Definitely the bug spray and netting to sleep. The following is from the CDC:

    The mosquitoes
    •Aedes species mosquitoes transmit chikungunya virus
    •These same types of mosquitoes transmit dengue virus
    •These mosquitoes bite mostly during the daytime

    •Symptoms usually begin 3 – 7 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito
    •The most common symptoms are fever and severe joint pains, often in the hands and feet
    •Other symptoms may include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rash

    Illness course and outcomes
    •Most patients feel better within a week
    •Some people may develop longer-term joint pain (months or years)
    •People at increased risk for severe disease include newborns exposed during delivery, older adults (≥65 years), and people with medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease
    •Deaths are rare

    •There are no antiviral medicines to treat chikungunya
    •There are medicines to help reduce the fever and pain

    Hope that helps some.

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