Friday, May 16, 2014

Poetry Friday: Chikungunya Edition

Gerald Weissmann writes here, "For an arbovirus such as Chikungunya to enter a new zone, three elements are required: a change in the distribution and/or survival of the insect vector; a change in fitness and/or infectivity of the virus; and a human who carries the virus into an area deficient in mosquito control."  Weissmann was referring to the outbreak of this decidedly tropical virus in Ravenna, Italy, in 2007, but all of those conditions have been met again, and Chikungunya is here, in Haiti, where I live.  It has crossed the ocean and it is wreaking havoc here, though it's only been on our side of the island for a couple of weeks.  You can read more about that here.

On May 2nd, I posted a Dengue fever edition of Poetry Friday, because that was how I had diagnosed myself.  I now think I probably had Chikungunya, and whether I did or not, now everybody does, including multiple people in my household.  When I googled "Chikungunya" and "poem," I got the article I quoted above, because later in the text, Weissmann writes that Dante died of malaria, which he described this way in the Inferno:

Like those who shake
Feeling the quartan fever coming on -
Their nails already blue, so that they shiver
At the mere sight of shade - such was I then...


Believe it or not, poems have been written about Chikungunya, too, including this one, which identifies the vector of the virus, the Aedes Egypti mosquito, an equal opportunity carrier which also likes to share Dengue fever with others. One of my colleagues wrote a poem from her sickbed, and posted it on Facebook.  Maybe when this gets done working its way through my whole family, I'll wax poetic about it too. 

I hope next week to write a Poetry Friday post with no trace of illness attached, and also soon to fill you in on my trip to New Orleans for the IRA conference.  Meanwhile, check out today's roundup.

7 comments:

Liz Steinglass said...

I hope that next week you can post a poem about good health and tell us about your trip!

Michelle Heidenrich Barnes said...

Hoping your family's and Haiti's recovery is swift!

Tara Smith said...

Oh dear, from one exotic illness to another. I hope you feel better, Ruth!

Tabatha said...

Sorry to hear about your household, Ruth, and the rampant spread of the illness in the community. Ugh. I read yesterday that there's some concern about attendees at the World Cup getting dengue fever. I wonder whether chikungunya will be an issue, too?

Myra Garces Bacsal said...

Oh very very sorry to hear this, dear Ruth. My prayers are with you and your family. I hope poetry provides some kind of solace.

jama said...

Oh, so sorry to hear this, Ruth. Do take care. Sending healing vibes your way.

Sarah SSM said...

Oh no. Just read this. I'm so sorry. I was just reading the Livesay blog about it yesterday. It sounds pretty awful. Prayers for you, your family, and your students (as well as the rest of Haiti).