Mon | Dec 5, 2016

Chik-V & me

Published:Tuesday | November 25, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Is chik-V really a mosquito-transmitted virus? I really believe it is airborne or transmitted in some way other than by mosquitoes.

A consistent feature across the Caribbean is a healthy dose of scepticism as to how chik-V is transmitted. In Jamaica there have been many theories, including 1) it was released as a result of the recent plane crash off the Portland coast, 2) it's airborne, or 3) it's transmitted by contact.

The facts are that chik-V is spread by Aedes aegypti mosquito bites predominantly. It could also be spread from mother to child if the mother has the virus in her blood when she is in labour to deliver her baby. The period between being bitten by an infected mosquito and showing symptoms is about three days (range two to 12 days).

After showing symptoms, the virus is present in the blood for about five days. If a person is bitten by an uninfected mosquito during these five days, the virus will pass from the sick person to the uninfected mosquito.

The virus multiplies in the mosquito but does not harm the mosquito. After a further week, this mosquito is infectious and will pass the virus to another uninfected human.