There was concern among my family members about what could go wrong on my Congo Christmas trip: ebola, terrorists/rebels, malaria, war, etc. I was more concerned over what I would pack since I have put on weight. My husband helpfully suggested this gain would not be a concern for long.
“Don’t worry about it,” he said. “You’ll catch Dengue fever, lose thirty pounds in a week and fit in all your old clothes.”
Dengue fever, a tropical virus whose symptoms include fever, headache, muscle & joint pain (flu anybody?), is, like malaria, another mosquito borne pathogen. In a small percentage of cases Dengue can become hemorrhagic (ebola?) and thus more deadly. Dengue is a cousin of West Nile and yellow fever. With ebola symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle pain & nausea, and malaria symptoms such as fever, headache, nausea, folks who get sick in the Congo really have to be checked out by a doctor.
My trip turned out completely disease free and even better (link to future post), so I took several photos to show my husband that I choose a different course.
No Dengue Diet for me, darling. Nope, I spent twelve days on the Beignet Diet.
Kristin King is an author and president of the non-profit Future Hope Africa, a small educational mission in east Congo. Recently returned from spending Christmas in the Congo, she is currently blogging about the experience.