Monday, December 21, 2009

'Tis the Season to Have Dengue

Fa la la la OW. They say dengue fever, also called breakbone fever, occurs in epidemics. A number of friends (Haitians excluded because apparently they have immunity) have had dengue recently including, as you may recall, myself. Now is Ben's turn and he's been in bed for a week now feeling "very ill, weak and miserable". That quote is from this excellent website on dengue (forwarded to us by our new friend Doctor Kim, who has been an incredible source of reassurance over the past week). Not only is there no prophylaxis for dengue, but there's no treatment! There is virtually nothing worse than being ill, weak and miserable with an illness that is untreatable.

We're pretty sure that Ben is currently between stage 2 ("a period of 1 - 3 days of feeling a bit better with or without a low grade fever") and stage 3 ("the fever and symptoms reoccur and a rash develops starting with the bottoms of the feet and palms of the hands. The rash is red and may be very itchy like hives. The rash spreads up the legs and arms to the rest of the body, not the face. The rash may appear like petechia or small hemorrhages in the skin"). No rash yet, but although he was actually up and about Saturday and Sunday, he woke up this morning feeling miserable and with severe pain in his right shoulder. Dengue can cause "pain or soreness everywhere especially in areas where old injuries had occurred" and the bane of Ben's dengue experience has been nauseating pain in the shoulder where he injured his rotator cuff a few years ago.

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