Jamaican Mommies by Shanoy Coombs: From Jamaica; for the world


Protecting your family against the Chikungunya Virus

Many moons ago, in late August I believe, I started this blog post on protecting your family against the Chikungunya Virus.  This coincided with a time when I also became an anti-mosquito ninja.  I knew from the newscasts and word on every street that the disease was supposedly transmitted via mosquito bites and I went on a mission to clear my home of the dreaded terror.  Every door boasted a snap shut door mesh; windows remained closed (and JPS enjoyed the light bill increase); our house was sprayed with aerosol anti insect spray in the morning before heading to work and again in the evenings.  I stacked up on lemon grass based mosquito body sprays and felt all was in order to safeguard my family from the dreaded Chik V. 

It was quite surprising then when my 5 year old started exhibiting symptoms-weak legs, severe pains and a body rash. Almost simultaneously I broke out into a case of extreme swollen nodes while my husband also suffered from pain and the like… My Facebook post at the time details the excruciating ordeal…

It was true, I experienced the most severe of pains (and I say this as a mother who gave birth naturally). But more importantly, the episode with my entire household being affected got me thinking, what more did I need to know? How could I have possibly prevented this? and it also had me questioning wheter mosquitoes could really be behind such complex and diverse symptons. 

Fortunately, I was among a group of United Nations Staff/Consultants who participated in a Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) / World Health Organization (WHO) session on Chikungunya and Ebola back in early October. This session therefore presented the opportunity to get a bit more information on Chikungunya and how to safeguard one’s family. 

It should be noted that a major question was why now? and why the sudden outbreak. Both Drs. Malcom and Mung who facilitated the sessions spoke about the extended drought period and the recent onset of rain as a contributing factor.

Note well too that the first incidence of Chinkungunya in the caribbean dated back to December 2013 with Jamaica’s first episode being noted in July 2014.

The presentation (from which snippets have been shared below) was enlightening as it was easy to understand and so I share with you my mamas, so you can know some of the best steps to protect your families against Chik V.  I particularly loved the graphic presentation of how one contracts the virus and the slide showing potential mosquito breeding habitats around the home. 

All credits due to: Dr. Taraleen Malcolm-Morgan, Adviser Sustainable Development & Environmental Health with the regional office of the World Health Organization. Credits also due to Dr. Kam Mung, Advisor – Disease Prevention and Control PAHO/WHO; Jamaica, Bermuda, Cayman Islands. 

View presentation in full screen or use pdf viewer below

Now that you know what needs to be done- go and action it! Seek out the potential breeding spots and make a concerted effort to protect your family. 


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Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.
Thomas Jefferson
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