Chikungunya, commonly called ‘Chick-V’ and sometimes comically called ‘Chick-G’, ‘Chick’ and ‘Chick-an-Gungo’, and the list continues, is a viral disease that causes fever and severe joint pains. All jokes aside however, just how much do you know about Chikungunya and what can you do to discontinue the spread of this crippling virus?
Chikungunya is spread by the Ades mosquito (specifically the A. aegypti in Jamaica); these mosquitos also spread another well-known viral disease Dengue, which similar to Chik-V, causes fever and severe joint pain. Some of the most common tell-tale signs that you or a family member has Chik-V include:
- Severe Joint Pains (Often in Hands)
- Muscle Pain
Although Chik-V does not result in death, joint pains and stiffness can last for months and even years resulting in a source of chronic pain and disability. Symptoms can be experienced as soon as one (1) day after being bitten by the infected mosquito or as long as twelve (12) days.
While there is no cure or vaccine for Chik-V, there is treatment to minimize the symptoms; Paracetamol pain killers can help to reduce the fever and joint pain, but be sure to contact a doctor before self-diagnosing yourself as Chik-V and Dengue share similar symptoms as well.
Regardless of Chik-V not being treated by any specific medication or vaccination, prevention is always better than cure, so here are some things you can do to lessen your chances of being infected:
Prevent Mosquito Bites
- Mosquitoes that spread Chik-V only bite during the day time.
- Wear light coloured clothing and cover-up as much as possible.
- Use mosquito repellents containing DEET on exposed skin.
- Use mosquito coils and electronic vaporization maths both day and night.
- Use Mosquito nets and have screened doors and windows.
Prevent Mosquito Breeding Grounds
- Mosquitos live and breed in stagnant water.
- Cover all drums, tanks, barrels, buckets that are used to store water.
- Empty containers where rain water could settle like tyres, tins, old bottles and plastic containers.
- Punch holes in the bottom of tins before disposing of them.
As it stands now, Chikungunya can be considered a “full blown epidemic” as said by Dr. Kenneth Baugh. Roughly 30 – 60 percent of Jamaicans are projected to become infected as projected by Acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health.
Let us all be responsible in not only looking out for yourselves but also those around you. If you have the symptoms see a doctor as quickly as possible and avoid large crowds as much as possible.
Written by Kadyann Stupart 5-1
Edited by Satchin Campbell 6AShare