I’m not sure that I should be writing this post, as I do want people to come and visit us in Puerto Rico… However, I will be honest and tell you what O told me yesterday: there is a dengue fever epidemic (maybe epidemic is a bit exaggerated as word, I have checked on the WHO web-site and it doesn’t say anything about an epidemic in PR?) in Puerto Rico! He said very casually that he hadn’t seen the relocation manager since the first week because she had been down with dengue!! Oh, and one of his colleagues had had it as well! Needless to say that I freaked out a little…
I read about dengue fever in a Swedish newspaper a few weeks ago, that the WHO is warning against a epidemic this year in Southeast Asia and that it will the worst year ever for dengue… The problem is that there is no vaccin and no treatment, just taking paracetamol and drink lots of fluids!
So, what is dengue fever? According to the Lonely Planet it is a viral infection found throughout the Caribbean, Southeast Asia and Latin America, the peak is usually between September and November. It is spread by so-called vector mosquitoes which usually bite during the day and often indoors (great news as mosquitoes absolutely love me!). Dengue is especially common in densely populated, urban environments. Dengue usually causes flulike symptoms including fever, muscle aches, joint pains, headaches, nausea and vomiting, often followed by a rash… Sounds great, doesn’t it? Most cases resolve after a few days but apparently it is mostly dangerous for children under 15 who get infected a SECOND time.
Well, O didn’t seem too worried but maybe he doesn’t know how serious it can be? Or maybe the Puertoricans are not too worried? Read more in the newspaper article if you are Swedish-speaking or on the WHO web-site. I will check with my friend Å who works for WHO in Copenhagen, maybe she can give me some more information on protection etc.
Let’s hope that it calms down and that I don’t have to worry about getting a tropical disease when I move!
Speaking of diseases, yesterday I had my second vaccination against hepatitits A & B (Twinrix is the vaccin that you need to take three times to be protected long-term). However, O is having huge difficulties getting his first booster in Puerto Rico. The company doctor is refusing to give him the vaccination without 1) a vaccination card (which I think we use in Europe mostly for compulsory vaccinations) 2) information of his body temperature when he was vaccinated the 1st time 3) a document (??) informing WHICH arm he was given it in!? I think that the doctor is completely out of line, but now I have to contact our doctor here in Brussels and ask him to write a certificate that he gave O the vaccination in the right arm on that exact date and that his body temperature was 37 degrees (probably)… They had even told O that it might be a problem that the certificate will be in French – I just say f*** off! (I could ask the doctor to write in English as he does speak it but c’mon!)
Anyway, I hope that I haven’t scared off any potential visitors and I will keep you updated if I hear something more about the so-called epidemic.