Scores of Jamaicans brought to their knees by chikungunya-like symptoms have dismissed medical and scientific explanations that the virus is being spread by mosquitoes.
Many, including highly educated Jamaicans, are swearing on their aching joints that they were not bitten by any mosquitoes yet they have been stricken by the illness.
“I believe that it is an airborne virus, which is easily contracted. I have long since dismissed the thought that it is caused by mosquitoes. Do these mosquitoes take bus or taxis to other parishes?” declared Portland resident Annmarie Bennett.
“It’s not mosquitoes spreading it because look how long mosquitoes deh round and this is the first case of mosquito giving chik-V. I don’t believe that,” an adamant Bobbette Parchment declared in downtown Kingston as she pointed to the rashes which she has developed in the past few days.
“I don’t believe that the mosquito caused it. I don’t know what cause it, but I know that even before the outbreak, I keep my doors locked and the place sprayed regularly. I don’t see how mosquitoes could bite me,” said supermarket employee Derron Johnson.
Some persons were even adamant that the outbreak is linked to the plane carrying businessman Laurence Glazer and his wife Jane, which crashed off the coast of Port Antonio earlier this month.
With entire communities becoming afflicted with the virus, sporting events being disrupted, and more and more persons rushing for medical treatment, these theories are gaining traction despite the local and international literature which rubbish these claims.
“There is no question that this is a mosquito-borne disease,” declared Dr Horace Chang, who has spent several years as a public health specialist.
The opposition member of parliament argued that the panic being displayed by Jamaicans is a direct result of how the Government has handled the outbreak, even as he declared that there was no trickery in the claim about the source.
“There is some doubt in people’s minds because the minister of health never came out immediately and addressed the vector-control issue. What Jamaicans must do is to ensure that they protect themselves and get rid of the areas where the mosquito can breed around the house because there is absolutely no doubt that this is being spread by the mosquitoes,” added Chang.
President of the Medical Association of Jamaica (MAJ), Dr Shane Alexis, also scoffed at suggestions that chik-V is not vector-transmitted.
“That’s completely incorrect. It is transmitted by the infected mosquitoes,” Alexis said last Friday.
In a bulletin last week, the MAJ provided basic information on the disease, its transmission, signs and symptoms, and the gestation period. (Jamaica Gleaner)