Over the last few weeks, few issues have been as topical as the mosquito-borne Chikungunya virus in Jamaica.
In fact, (and sadly so) it has reached the stage where government and opposition have seemingly turn the issue into a political football.
Yours truly is now taking the responsibility to educate and update my loyal readers and those with a keen interest on the state of the virus in Jamaica.
Our understanding is that the virus first came here some weeks ago via a lady who arrived in Kingston from another Caribbean island. She was apparently bitten by mosquitoes and well, the rest is history.
However, as painful as the illness is, truth be told, it is far less worse that Dengue fever that has been around Jamaica for many many years now.
And yes, it is only spread by a particular type of mosquito.
Also, the virus has far less than 1% fatality rate, compared to dengue fever that can go up to 5%, and Influenza which kills millions each year!
The only fatality here was a school boy who fell and hit his head because he got very week. Story (here).
(By the way, there is no Ebola here in Jamaica, some people have gone overboard and started assuming, alleging and theorizing)
My humble opinion is that the situation was actually left for such assumptions and theories to develop.
But the Jamaican health ministry has moved now to tackle the issue head-on with some specific plans and actions to a) educate and b) mitigate any impact to the social and economic stability of the country.
In addition to public education, it plan includes major cleanings and fogging of suspected mosquito breeding areas.
By the way, the ports of entries (airports and seaports) and resort areas have had some heavy fogging.
One of the major disappointments I think, was that they kept quoting the numbers of persons impacted which was never believed to be accurate anyways.
In fact, four members of one family from my church was affected over the last two weeks and I doubt they were in any count. They they were back at church on the weekend and looked well though.
Symptoms of the Chik-V include rashes, swollen lymph nodes, joint pains, headaches, fever and overall weakness of the body.
You an read more about the history of Chikungunya here, and later read the report from the national broadcast on Sunday by the health minister.