Posted in History, Learning

Zika and me

TOPSHOT – A picture taken on January 29, 2016 shows a sign post leading to the Ziika forest in Uganda near Entebbe. The Zika virus was first discovered in April 1947 after testing a macaque monkey in Ziika forest, Uganda by the scientists of the Yellow Fever Research Institute. The virus is spread by day time active mosquitos. The Zika virus is “spreading explosively” in the Americas and the region may see up to four million cases of the disease strongly suspected of causing microcephaly according to the World Health Organization. Microcephaly is a condition causes babies to be born with an abnormally small head and a neurological disorder called Guillain-Barre syndrome. / AFP / ISAAC KASAMANI (Photo credit should read ISAAC KASAMANI/AFP/Getty Images)

I went on my first mission trip last year to Guatemala speaking absolutely NO Spanish.  This year I made it a goal to begin learning Spanish.  To that end I scheduled a 2 week intensive Spanish course in the Dominican Republic in May.  I learned a lot of Spanish (still having a hard time getting it to come out of my mouth right) and I also got Zika.  Fortunately, I’m way past having more kids!  I used Off bugspray (with DEET) 2-3 times a day and sprayed down my bed every night.  I never saw even one mosquito bite.

But….the Thursday of my second week I started feeling tired – it took a lot of effort to walk up my steps and I had to stop during my Brazilian JuiJitsu rolls.  I chalked it up to not eating well, sweating gallons and 10 minute rounds.  The next day I felt more fatigued and just sick.  By late afternoon I had a whole body rash and conjunctivitis.  The next day my hands, feet and knees were swollen and sore, my head hurt and I couldn’t eat.  That’s when I knew I had it.  A test when I got home confirmed it.

Fortunately, I have an iron immune system and I have completely recovered.  But it took 2 weeks and it wasn’t fun.  The moral of the story for me is that mosquitos are nasty, sneaky little creatures.  Zika isn’t fatal but malaria IS!  I will not take malaria prophylaxis lightly in the future and recommend taking the appropriate antibiotics exactly as directed by your physician.  I know I will!!!!


Family Physician

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