For Haiti, as for the rest of the Caribbean, summer means rainy season. And rainy season means mosquitos. Lots of mosquitos. And this year many of those mosquitoes are carrying something extra—the chikungunya virus.
Chikungunya is a disease transmitted by infected mosquitos. Patients experience fever, headache, and, most notably, joint and muscle pain. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “the name ‘chikungunya’ derives from a word in the Kimakonde language, meaning ‘to become contorted’ and describes the stooped appearance of sufferers with joint pain.” It is not fatal and symptoms usually last from a couple of days to a couple of weeks.
The WHO first reported that mosquitos had been infected in the Caribbean in December 2013, the first time it had been reported in the Americas. Since then, the number of reported cases of chikungunya in Haiti and throughout the region has increased greatly.
At our Camp Coq clinic, approximately 10% of patients in May and June were suffering from chikungunya. Because there is no medicine to prevent or cure it, our doctor and nurses addressed each patient’s pain with anti-inflammatory drugs. Because of the epidemic, the prices of these drugs have skyrocketed; however, C2C has been able to keep prices constant and affordable for the families we serve.