Quick! What’s the one aspect of foreign service life so glamorous and exciting that we never mention it, lest you succumb to a mad fit of jealousy?
Yes, that’s right. Tropical Diseases. And, the not so tropical ones too. I’m talking parasites, microorganisms, fungi, cysts, burrowing insects, worms…. so many things that make you glitter and shine.
Here in Dhaka, we’ve got your pretty typical Typhoid problem, but that’s preventable with a round of inoculations. What else do we have for the unwary FS-person?
Dengue: A popular disease among the teaching staff at the American school this year, and several Embassy folks as well have opted for “the Dengue.” Like malaria, it’s a mosquito borne disease, but, not curable, so you have to run the whole sickness through. And, its mosquito prefers the city life, and cooler times of day, so they hit you while you’re sleeping. Then, you get a fever, headaches, pain, rash, and possibly some hemorrhaging. Fun times!
Flesh-eating snails: aka schistosomiasis. These microscopic snails live in bodies of water, waiting for an unsuspecting hand or foot to touch it. Then, they start to eat you, inside and out. Yummers.
Amoebas: aka dysentery, famed for its history on the Oregon Trail (game). Found in the public water supply.
Cysts: Again, microscopic things that eat you, and everything you dined on. Transmitted by fecal contamination. EEW.
Worms: Primarily a problem from undercooked meats
And: Salmonella, Hepatitis, AIDS, Tickbite Fever, Malaria, Pink Eye….
Don’t you wish you had one? I did. Not anymore.