…Tropical Disease

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.

Garden-variety Rabies

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.

4 thoughts on “…Tropical Disease

  1. In the Peace Corps they give you a book “WHEN THERE IS NO DOCTOR” to take with you to your site. It helps you identify all sorts of crazy afflictions, including how to tell the difference between leprosy and ring worm. It was a bit scary, but it covered all imaginable scenarios. Your list is all probability scenarios…. REALLY SCARY! I hope you and your family avoid them all!

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