We have received word from our friends in Haiti that Chikungunya fever is sweeping across the country and is now affecting children in our schools.
Chikungunya fever is a mosquito-borne virus that is mostly spread in densely populated areas where mosquitoes will bite more than one person. Unfortunately, Haiti’s population is very dense–about twice the population of Maryland in the same amount of space. Most people who become infected will notice symptoms within a week of the mosquito bite, including fever, headache, joint pain, and sometimes a rash. It is not likely to result in death, but in Haiti, many things can go wrong. Malnourished children such as our students in Haiti also have compromised immune systems that may not be able to fight off the virus to preserves their lives. There is some research showing that Chikungunya symptoms will recur for years afterward, even with no re-infection, much like malaria.
You can read more about Chikungunya fever at http://www.cdc.gov/chikungunya/
Please pray for the health and protection of our students, teachers, and families in harm’s way.