Fri | Jan 19, 2018

Chik-V still affecting citizens three years later - Doctor

Published:Monday | June 12, 2017 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin

Three years after the islandwide outbreak of the chikungunya virus (chik-V), a number of persons are still experiencing debilitating effects.

That is according to consultant rheumatologist Dr Stacy Davis, who, in giving an overview of the after-effects of the virus, called on policymakers to give equal attention to muscular skeletal diseases.

"Definitely, we still see a lot of persons who came forward a few months after they had contracted chik-V. They still have chronic arthritis symptoms, and in addition, we still have some coming forward now," she said.

"A lot of persons waited for quite a while, hoping that it would go away, and now, they are realising that it is still there with them. Even new cases of persons who associate their joint problems with chik-V are coming forward," she continued.

Davis, who is also the president of the Lupus Foundation of Jamaica, said that the severe effects chik-V can have on the immune system require persons to consistently monitor what's happening with their bodies.

"You also have those who didn't have any problems but just the exposure. We know that autoimmune illnesses are triggered by viral illnesses, but because we had not been exposed to chik-V before on this side of the world, we had not realised the impact it would have," she told The Gleaner.

"Usually, in just a small number of persons it will be indefinite - lifelong. You have to understand, some persons will go into remission, but they are still believed to have the illness because it can always come back at a later time. That is why it is important to seek help and to monitor," Davis said.