A Fear of Dengue

Upon arriving in a tropical city in the middle of the night and being bitten alive by mosquitoes in the place that I’d corresponded with the day before about having a private room ready for me at 2am, a room that I’d paid for via paypal, I barely thought anything about the potential of coming down with Dengue, or Malaria for that matter.

The lady who I woke up after the taxi man dropped me off didn’t know anything about the private room or even me showing up for that matter. She didn’t have a key to a private room so I had no choice but to try to sleep in a musty, mosquito infested dorm room.

For as long as I can remember, mosquitoes have always loved chomping into my delectable blood. Regardless, I’d completely spaced on bringing bug spray to this place that sits in the heart of the tropics. This is because I was wrapping up infinite logistics.

While being fed upon by these nasty micro enemies, I thought: I didn’t bring bug spray. Where do my priorities lie? I pride myself on possessing priority know how; but, pride is asinine, as are excuses, and I’m supposed to be a seasoned traveler. How absurd is that?

Upon meeting my new friend Leo a few days ago, he told me that his wife had gotten Dengue just weeks ago, right here in this establisment in Matagalpa where I was getting bitten again, and I still hadn’t purchased bug repellent.

I don’t remember who or where it was, but a traveler that I’d met here in Nicaragua, somewhere, told me that there is no Dengue or Malaria in this land. It was too easy for me to believe this hearsay. After all, it’s exactly what I wanted to hear.   I pondered again: What am I thinking? I’m not.  Or, I’m only thinking about writing and developing a web presence, and not focusing on a much greater proiorty, my health.

I’ve since researched the situation while thinking: Why did I wait so long? These facts have been sitting just clicks away as wifi has been a cinch in the three places I’ve stayed so far.

Since finally probing, this is what I’ve discovered:

• Dengue is endemic to Nicaragua, but mainly during rainy season. It’s now dry season.

• Malaria is only found on the Caribbean coast, this may keep me away. What a wimp I am.

• Mosquitoes get Dengue fever by biting a person who’s infected;   these tiny flying hellions then bite a non-infected person, thus spreading this viral disease.

• Due to increased air travel, Dengue is on the rise worldwide.

• Unlike Malarial mosquitoes, the ones that carry Dengue bite during the day.

• Dengue fever is found in most tropical parts of the world including Africa, Australia, Asia and the Americas, including Texas along the Mexican border.

• Dengue produces flu-like symptoms. There is no treatment except for a ton of rest, water, and sometimes IVs.

• Dengue is usually mild and not fatal.

• Symptoms typically occur between four and six days after being bitten, with a range between three and 14 days.

• Dengue fever has reached epidemic levels in Central America and is threatening the United States.

• Keeping one’s immune system up can help protect against Dengue.

I’m  currently trying to keep my immune system up by overdosing on fruit in the morning, and veggies later in the day. The fruit part is easy down here.

Getting the veggies in is more challenging but doable.

Here in Matagalpa, solid sleep has been attainable. Ideally I’m getting the rest I need to keep my immune system up.

Leo’s wife had a very mild case which only lasted a week. She didn’t even need to seek medical attention. She said that her father has since had this hostel fumigated.

I’ve finally bought repellent in the form of a cream. Rubbing this on my skin and clothing has become my new religion.


4 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by lobo on May 6, 2011 at 22:05

    Thanks for the article. I am enjoying the photos, and the details on Dengue symptoms are great!


  2. Yeah, I’ve had my thoughts on ‘why, oh why didn’t I remember to bring insect repellent.’ Only I was worried about West Nile-virus instead of Dengue.


  3. The cream seems to be working. Sometimes they still quickly fly around me but don’t land. I may have gotten one on the finger last night though, hopefully it was just my imagination.


  4. I hope they stay off.


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