- Chikungunya is a viral disease that is spread by mosquitoes. By the same mosquitoes involved in the dengue transmision (Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus)
- It causes fever and severe joint pain. Other symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash. Symptoms occur 4 and 7 days after the patient has been bitten by the infected mosquito.
- There is no cure or vaccine for the disease. Treatment is focused on relieving the symptoms.
- The proximity of mosquito breeding sites to human habitation is a significant risk factor for Chikungunya.
- In 2007, disease transmission was reported for the first time in Europe.
- On December 2013, PAHO/WHO received confirmation of the first cases of autochthonous transmission of Chikungunya in the Americas (Caribbean), since then several cases have been diagnosticated in some of the Caribbean Islands, health authorities are taking measures to prevent the spread and breath of the mosquito. Since then more than 77,000 cases in the Dominican Republic and a similar number in Haiti
Fr. Rick Frechette, National Director at NPH Haiti wrote:
The rainy season has always brought troubles for the Haitian people: flooding, mudslides, malaria, and in recent years, deadly cholera. Now there’s a new outbreak spreading across the country, Chikungunya fever.
Our St. Damien Pediatric Hospital programs have seen an increase in patients, stretching as usual to meet overwhelming need. Our ability to serve the many seeking treatment depends on the funds to buy fluids and medications, and our ability to maintain these overflowing structures. We wanted you, our friends, to be aware of this great new need.
The name Chikungunya means “to become contorted” or “to bend up” because the pain caused by the virus is so intense that all you can do is hold your aching joints and wait for it to be over. Haitians have adopted the name kraze le zo or “breaking bone” in Creole.
There is no anti-viral treatment for Chikungunya fever, and no vaccine, but one can treat the symptoms. While rarely fatal with proper treatment, many Haitians don’t have access to or can’t afford reliable healthcare, putting them at risk for severe dehydration and chronic pain that lasts for days or even months. It can be particularly dangerous for the very young and the elderly.
Thank you as always for your friendship and support. Please donate, it is a great comfort to know that we can count on you.
Father Rick Frechette, National Director NPH Haiti
More info at: