Fri | Dec 2, 2016

Bissy remedy for chik-V - even for dog

Published:Tuesday | September 30, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Christopher Serju, Gleaner Writer

Residents of Seaview Gardens who claim that in excess of 90 per cent of the population has been affected by the chikungunya virus in recent weeks are convinced that health ministry officials are either ignorant about the disease, which is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, or are hiding the truth.

The residents told The Gleaner yesterday that coping with mosquitoes has become a way of life for them, since the community is largely ignored by the National Solid Waste Management Authority, the agency responsible for solid waste collection and disposal. For this reason, they claim, the area is a haven for mosquitoes, a situation with which they have become accustomed.

They claim to have been stung, bitten, ravaged in every which way by mosquitoes, thereby gaining some 'expertise' on the matter of mosquito-borne diseases.

"Is not mosquito, this is an airborne disease, this is not mosquitoes, I am telling you. The Government needs to talk the truth because is not mosquito, is an airborne disease," one woman insisted, with other people supporting her line of reasoning.

Ignoring Ministry advice

In fact, so unimpressed are the Seaview Gardens residents with the Ministry of Health that some have even begun to ignore its advice on treatment as one young woman shared.

"A my bredda gi me the remedy and me just send it on - papaya leaf and garlic. You boil the papaya leaf with the garlic and when you done you throw it off and drink it and you good."

Questioned about the risk of someone being poisoned as a result of this home remedy, the woman adamantly defended its effectiveness.

"Nobody poison yet. Me woulda poison already. My daughter and her two pickney them get better. My sister and her nine pickney them and her seven grandpickney get better."

Interestingly bissy (kola nut), which has long been used locally as an antidote for poisoning, has also been brought into the treatment mix for chikungunya, but only in cases where rashes are among the symptoms.

In a bizarre twist, one woman explained that the family dog, Ruff, was the first member of the household to be stricken with the disease.

"The dog couldn't walk, the only thing the dog coulda do is lay down and say 'arr, arr' and mammy boil some bissy and also give the dog Panadol and after that the dog coulda get up and walk. Seriously!"

The Gleaner understands that, while the Aedes aegypti only feeds on human blood, the other type of mosquito which spreads chik-V, the Aedes albopictus (Asian tiger mosquito), also feeds on a range of animals including dogs and birds. However. the Asian tiger mosquito is not known to be present in Jamaica.

christopher.serju@gleanerjm.com