Monday, 9 February 2009

Day 49 - Tropical Diseases

"Tropical diseases are diseases that are prevalent in or unique to tropical and subtropical regions. Insects such as mosquitoes and flies are by far the most common disease carrier or "vector".

These insects may carry a parasite, bacterium or virus that is infectious to humans and animals. Most often disease is transmitted by an insect "bite", which causes transmission of the infectious agent through subcutaneous blood exchange.

The so-called "exotic" diseases in the tropics have long been noted both by travelers, explorers, etc., as well as by physicians. One obvious reason is that the hot climate present during all the year and the larger volume of rains directly affect the formation of breeding grounds. It is possible also that higher temperatures may favor the replication of pathogenic agents both inside and outside biological organisms.

Socio-economic factors may be also in operation, since most of the poorest nations of the world are in the tropics."


Needless to say I did not take the medication the Spanish doctor prescribed. Migraine tablets did not improve my symptoms over Christmas, and they certainly weren't going to do so now.

I am now in West Africa. On Friday, my colleague and I drove from Banjul, the capital of The Gambia, to Dakar, Senegal, to seek medical advice.

Health care in The Gambia is very limited so a trip to Dakar for some more blood tests was the only viable option.

The Clinique de la Madeleine, a privately funded French hospital, is a modern, soulless building located in the centre of Dakar.

I was seen immediately.

It has been nearly two months now and I am keen to try everything possible to rid my body of this tempestuous headache.

Maybe I caught a bug in Nigeria, and it may well be that a parasite is causing my infamous headache.

I told the doctor that I wanted to ‘do every possible test available on the face of the earth, in particular all tests to detect any possible tropical diseases’.

I need to return to the hospital on Monday morning to get my results.

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