Via a Haiti blog called The Life and Times of the Mangine Many: Why Chikungunya is a big deal. Excerpt:
There's a lot of buzz in Haiti about this Chikungunya fever that's going around.
I read an article that says there are 1,529 cases confirmed in Haiti as of yesterday. But that's just CONFIRMED cases. All of us here in Haiti know that the real number is much, much higher. (My guess, which is not based on anything scientific, rather mostly just anecdotal evidence, is probably at least in the tens of thousands, possibly in the hundreds of thousands.)
Why the discrepancy? Well, only a small percentage of the people who have Chikungunya symptoms are going to the doctor. This is two-fold. First, many people simply can't afford to go to the doctor. And second, most people already know what they have, and that there is no treatment, just pain control.
Pain control in Haiti = paracetamol (Tylenol). There's just not access to anything stronger in Haiti. You get into a moto accident and break your leg, you get a prescription for paracetamol. You have a kidney stone, you get a prescription for paracetamol. You have malaria or dengue, you get a prescription for paracetamol, or possibly ibuprofen. (And, obviously, these things are available over-the-counter, and so a prescription really isn't needed.)
At initial glance, this seems like no worse than a flu outbreak. I mean, sure it sucks really bad. One friend who had it told me that it feels like a dinosaur is chewing on your bones. She also said that she couldn't walk and had no choice but to pee her pants because she couldn't get to the bathroom.
Our foster daughter, Fritzie, hasn't been out of her bed in two days. Terrible to be sure, but you will almost certainly get over it. Chikungunya is rarely fatal. However, even if this was just something like a widespread flu outbreak, the financial impact on families here in Haiti is huge-- the most of whom live day-to-day or week-to-week.
We're hearing stories of entire families getting this at the same time. A local children's home here in Jacmel has 5 out of 8 of their children with it, and staff as well. Others in Port Au Prince are saying that they have never seen so many people sick at once. For many people in Haiti who are fortunate enough to have a job (remember, unemployment is like 65%) missing work = losing wages, and, in many cases, the loss of their job.