Friday, August 11, 2006

Dengue Fever

Banda Aceh, Indonesia

Wake up call, Yesterday morning Elizabeth told me she's real ill and thinks it might either be malaria or dengue fever. She said she's weak, can't eat, has chills and is nauseas, and has been feeling ill for a few days now. Later that day she went to the UN compound, to get a blood test. It came back negative for both malaria and dengue fever, which is good, but not in the clear yet, as dengue fever can show up negative a number of times. So she's going to go back again soon.

This morning while I was at the Mercy Corps office, I was talking to the head guy there about dengue fever. He told me that his wife and kids have had it not long ago (they all live in Banda Aceh with him, they're American) and it's not something to take lightly. And a lot of people have been getting it recently. In fact they just had to evacuate a guy to a hospital in Singapore last week, and he's still there. In the blood test, they watch the white blood cell count (I hate biology), and if it gets too low, they send you to Singapore. Why Singapore? Because if it gets too bad, you start to have internal bleeding and you get what looks like bruises all over your body. At that point they have to do a blood transfusion. In Singapore, they screen all blood; in Indonesia they do random screenings. Either way I would never want to take that risk!

So I'm now paranoid, I am writing this entry laying on my bed under a mosquito net (the windows have no screens and if you don't know, malaria and dengue fever are transmitted by mosquitoes) and if I go outside in the evenings, I'm wearing long pants and long sleeve shirts even though the temps are still in the 80's at night.

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