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Monica Dispatch

Trekker Down! Trekker Down!!

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Four trekkers, their four backpacks, and one nasty virus on an airplane from Harare to Accra on Sunday, August 1st at midnight. Did you know that planes are one of the fastest ways to carry germs?

I was sick, sick, sick starting the Saturday before we left Zimbabwe, through the plane ride, and even now, in Ghana. Do you know that real sick feeling, when you just can't move, you can't breathe, you're dizzy, your nose is runny, you're sniffling, sneezing, you have a headache and muscle cramps... terrible, terrible sick? All-you-can-do-is-sleep sick? That's how sick I was, and it lasted for four days straight, with just brief moments where I felt like I was okay.

I think that human beings have lived so long in Africa, (some think about 5 million years) that viruses have had a long time to get very nasty, and very good at spreading. I caught the bug from Kevin (who was sick for three days), and I think I gave it to Abeja (who was able to fight it off in a day and a half)! Trekkers share more than just workload and travel experiences!

When we got to Ghana, the Kevin, Abeja and Kavitha took me in a taxi to a Hotel and put me to bed... There I stayed, in my sleepsack, in an uncomfortable bed, with the ceiling fan on "high" and the call of the muzzein outside. I drifted in and out of a feverish sleep for two days.

I finally awoke and started to feel like my head was clearing yesterday. The headache was going away, and although the cough was not as bad as it was, it was still a sharp reminder of how sick I was. Human beings, having to share the same space, sure often lay prey to many viruses and germs out there. Abeja and Kavitha will be going to the Cote d'Ivoire where there is currently an outbreak of the dreaded Ebola virus, which you might have heard about. There is also an outbreak of the Lassa virus, another dreaded virus. Ebola is one of the most quickly spread and terrifying diseases known to humankind. You can read more about the current state of diseases like Smallpox (now no longer such a threat!), Malaria, AIDS, Ebola and Lassa on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. The CDC, based in Atlanta, Georgia, is made up of scientists and technicians who hunt down bugs like the one I had and more deadly ones like Lassa and Ebola and figure out how to protect us from them.

Let's hope that the rest of the trip goes smoothly for us, especially in terms of our health. Until next time, always remember to wash your hands!!!

Monica
 

Team - Ebola, A Rare and Deadly Disease
Team - Tracking Gorillas for Science in Uganda
Team - Greed Kills
Team - How About Going Through Zaire?

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