Well with the whole Chikungunya virus floating around the Caribbean (seriously it's like someone is playing the game plague, inc. or something) and being widespread here in Haiti, I decided to share my own observations with those of you in the States. Kate and poor little Isaac have both lived through the ordeal and both of them are seeming to be back to normal, though Isaac still has an ever so faint rash on his chest and back.
I'm not sure how much you already know about Chikungunya or how much it's on the news, but here we go. When we first heard about Chikungunya here everyone thought that it was just another strain of Dengue. On paper they look almost identical.
Spreads through mosquitoes. Check
Takes a few days to a week or so to incubate in your body. Check
High fever. Check
Muscle and joint pain. Check
Oh by the way there is nothing you can do but take tylenol, lay in bed, and ask God why you couldn't be a missionary in Greenland, Norway, or even Russia. You guessed it, Check
When it started spreading like wildfire around campus we started noticing that the difference wasn't in the symptoms, but in what symptom was the predominant one. With Dengue the fever is what gets you, but with Chikungunya its the muscle and joint pain.
Daily activities proved very difficult or impossible as most everyone found even walking painful. Kate described the joint pain like someone smashed your hand with a hammer and your hand has swelled up kind of painful. Poor Issac was very slow going when he tried crawling, one limb at a time instead of his usual go-so-fast-that-he-falls-on-his-face self.
The US has some reported cases and if you think you have it I recommend checking in with your doctor. That being said, if you don't quite have access to the same level of health care or if you are someone who never goes to the doctor unless a bone is protruding through your skin, then just know a few things.
There are 20 something staff here on campus that got it and the virus seemed to follow a similar pattern across everyone. The severe joint pain was lessened with Tylenol and/or Ibprophen and lasted anywhere from 1-3 days. (some sources say joint pain can last months or years though). So if you wake up one morning and you can't get up, just know that you might be ok the next day or in a few days.
If you get and beat it, then welcome to the club (still waiting for my induction into the club, though I've heard it's getting easier to apply). To celebrate your beating of Chikungunya you should definitely eat something with chicken, a chimichanga, or eat anything in Guyana. (Bonus points if you do all three!)
If you want some more serious information from experts then head over to the center for disease control. I've linked them here.
Do you like lists?
1. Learning how to avoid/kill:
Other freaky looking bugs
2. Geckos chirping in the walls/ceiling
(a. they can be LOUD. b. I was convinced for a year that they were rats)
3. Lizards EVERYWHERE
(Including your living room walls)
4. Lugging 5 gallons of drinking water across base every week
(Approx 1/5 of a mile)
5. Having little or no water pressure when the electric is off.
(Inconvenient for showers and washing dishes)
6. Not having electricity 24/7
(Yay for a generator though!)
( Yet again self explanatory)
(Except in dry season...... then its dust)
10.Everything imported is almost twice it's original cost
(Sad day when you want M&Ms and they cost over $2)
11. Spending .50 for a street food breakfast
(Pates. They are amazing. Here is a pic: http://bit.ly/1kN2I8z)
12.Spending .25 for a glass bottle of amazing coke
(Drinking coke in america will never be the same)
(Caution: Don't drink after 3:00pm, or you will be up ALL. NIGHT. LONG)
14. No seasons.... Except wet and dry
(Its kinda nice, though I occasionally miss jacket weather)
15.People eating Spaghetti for breakfast
(Apparently Haitians blend it up and give it to their kids as baby food too)
(Rice with beans, rice with carrots, rice with sauce)
(Beans with rice, beans in a sauce, beans as a sauce)
18. More rice
20. Digicel sending you 50 bajillion texts a day.
(The joy you get by getting a text.... just to have it crushed by the realization that its just your friendly neighborhood cell service provider, sending yet ANOTHER promotion. Someone give me a hammer)
Things are pretty slow here on base with no teams and DTS being finished with, so I figured I would inject a little humor into our weekly post.
Hope you enjoyed!