Wed | Jan 16, 2019

Letter of The Day - Stop going berserk over chikungunya

Published:Monday | September 15, 2014 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir: Allow me to try to clarify this chikungunya situation, as it seems to me that many persons do not understand how the figures are represented.

If we look at how the figures for every Caribbean country are quoted, laboratory and suspected cases are separated. When the ministry says there are 24 lab-confirmed cases, this simply means that of the number of samples sent to the lab for testing, 24 came back positive for chikungunya. It does not mean that there are only 24 cases of the disease in Jamaica.

It is clear to me that there are more than 24 cases of chikungunya in Jamaica, but it also seems that every fever or joint pain is now considered chikungunya. Dengue, flu and the range of other viral illnesses that cause similar symptoms seem to not exist in Jamaica right now. Chikungunya rules!


It would be foolhardy and, indeed, expensive for the Ministry of Health to test everyone with symptoms, as that is simply not necessary.

If I have chikungunya, and my family members experience the same symptoms, I personally would not pay to test all of us. It would make no sense - financial and otherwise. While I think, perhaps, the ministry can also report the number of suspected cases, I do believe this business of numbers is clouding what should be the real concern. Jamaicans need to take responsibility for their health.

The Government should not have to come to your home to turn over a container breeding mosquitoes. If you know that you can get a virus from a mosquito, why would you not do everything you can to prevent being bitten?

You should also have enough pride to not throw garbage around where you eat and drink, and, by doing this, inviting even more dangerous rodents and insects into your surroundings. People need to focus less on the numbers and start acting more responsibly.