Monday, October 26, 2009

Dang Dengue in the Tropics!

As if we didn’t have to worry enough about the Swine/Pig Flu… now there’s Dengue!

What is Dengue, you ask? Dengue, pronounced dĕng'gē, is a fever brought on from a virus transmitted from your average friendly Aedes Mosquito. Oddly enough it’s only transmitted from Human to Mosquito to Human and NOT from Human to Human. So feel free to make out with someone with Dengue just don’t share mosquitoes!

All jokes aside, apparently this is a serious concern even though I’ve never ever heard of it before now. According to, 50% of Panama’s population
has been infected with the Dengue virus… WHAT!? So half the people I come in contact on a daily basis potentially has this virus… just great.

Ok let’s just take a moment and find out how this virus plays out. Incubation for 5 – 8 days, then high fever, chills, severe headache, pain in the joints, pain behind the eyes, rash, sweating, and fatigue; these are the “classic symptoms.” It sounds bad but bearable so far. Severe cases, called Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever, includes hemorrhaging, shock, and encephalitis (inflammation of the brain). Uhmm? The severe cases occur when the infected has already been previously infected before. Ok, so maybe there is cause for concern, just check out these nicknames: bone-break fever, bonecrusher disease, or dandy fever (I like that one the most).

Ok time to get serious. What about prevention of Dandy Fever (that’s the name I’m going with. Makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside, that’s just dandy)?
mosquito_repel_DEET-707534 chemical-protective-clothing-jacket-357278

  • Use DEET: screw global warming, the polar bear population has increased anyway.
  • Dress in protective clothing: So what it’s the tropics out there. A little sweat (and smell) never hurt anyone.
  • Keep doors/windows shut: you’ll need to anyway if you’re wearing protective clothing because I’m sure your air con is blasting.
  • Get rid of standing water: this one is going to be tricky because it rains EVERYDAY during the rainy season.

I guess if all else fails and you get Dengue Fever there are some remedies used in various other countries you can give a go. Indians (not Native Americans, Indians from India) use uncooked Papaya leaf juice of 2 leaves once a day. In Brazil, it is treated with cat’s claw herb only found in South & Central America. The Philippines use tawa-tawa herbs and juice made from the tops of sweet potato. Who knows the effectiveness of any of these treatments but if my bones felt like they were crushing, I think I’d be up for a try.

And all I thought I was going to have to worry about in Panama was Malaria… silly me.

So good luck and God speed!


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