Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Cholera & malaria: The medical advise I got

So the hurricane has come and gone. That's nice, but we're still not out of the woods yet. I saw a headline yesterday about cholera officially spreading to Port-au-Prince.

The cholera outbreak began north of PAP and has now officially reached the capitol. That sounds par for the course with cholera, but it's still concerning to me.

It can take time to spread and is almost certainly headed west to Jeremie. There have been a number of cases reported west of PAP. But they may still be people who contracted it in PAP, not in the towns on the road to Jeremie. And that makes a difference because the longer it takes to spread, the more time there is to increase awareness... which is really fairly basic.

I spoke with a great local doctor today and he told me the problem with cholera is that it can kill in four hours. But the cure is very simple... drink lots of water. If you get it, you have a real problem. But if you drink water -- or better yet, get an IV -- you should be fine.

I also asked about malaria, particularly as I'm not taking anything for it. I considered taking an anti-malarial once. It was larium and it was during my trip to east Africa in 2000. But most drugs have side effects. And larium has its own alter ego. It doubles as a hallucenogenic drug.

I wasn't really interested. Besides, I was hallucinating naturally!

By the time I summited Kilimanjaro my high altitude sickness (HAS) had me seeing all sorts of stuff... including a bull elephant charging across Ernie's Snows straight at me. The ridiculous part about that was that I was so giddy from the HAS, I just laughed when I saw it in full stride.

Anyway, I was told that the Jeremie strain of malaria is NBD. There's no need to take anything -- even chloroquine. It's easier to deal with as it comes.

So there you have it on the medical front. I had a great local doctor tell me that I shouldn't be worried... just educated and cautious.

We'll see how that works out... knock on wood...

Tim White

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Besides, I was hallucinating naturally!"

Tim...I guess you have truly left politics with that public admission.

Joking I promise. Stay safe.