Earlier today I got a comment about chikungunya from Dr. Jen Halverson, who works in Haiti; it deserves a post of its own:
It is very, very bad in Port au Prince--there are so many people who have symptoms consistent with chikungunya. Many people are out of work--it seems most are out for about a week. All ages are affected and the symptoms are quite severe in many patients.
Based on previous outbreaks, and the fact that it's the rainy season, I'm guessing 50% or more of the population will be infected before this first wave is over. I came down with classic symptoms one week ago, and I'm just now starting to feel halfway normal again. The pain (arthralgias/bone pain mainly) was some of the worst I've ever experienced in my life. In Kreyol, they're calling it "lafyev kase zo"--the fever that breaks the bones. It fits.
When I wrote to ask permission to run her comment, Dr. Halverson said yes and added this:
I came down with chikV on 5/13 and was sick for a week. I had a pretty bad case. I got back to Minnesota on Sunday and had my blood drawn on Monday. I am waiting for my chikV test to come back. Interestingly, I also found out that I've had dengue in the past. I can recall one mild illness when I was in Haiti back in 1999 or 2001 that was probably dengue. Chikungunya is way, way worse than the dengue that I had.
I find it amazing that a new disease can sweep across a country in days and draw almost no attention in the North American media. But let one tourist come back with it, and the media go nuts.