on Heather Saunders (Nigeria), 03/Feb/2011 14:05, 34 days ago
When I arrived in Nigeria, I was told about a volunteer in Lagos who'd had malaria six times. I was astonished, and wondered how on earth someone could be so careless, surely they must not be using a mosquito net and never wearing mosquito repellent, let alone taking anti malarial tablets.On Monday I equalled her record. And yes I sleep under a mosquito net, wear mosquito repellent in the evenings and take doxyclicline as an anti malarial. Yet Richard, who lived in the same house, and took far fewer precautions than I do, didn't get malaria once.Some people just seem more prone to malaria than others, I'm O positive, if that helps anyone with their blood type theories on malaria susceptibility.It's not a pleasant experience, but not really as awful as the word malaria makes you imagine. I usually start by feeling fragile, often with a fever, or exhaustion or aches and pains, just like flu. With the worst bout I woke up at 3am with vomiting and diarrhoea, and the mildest, I just felt fuzzy so went for a test at work, lucky for me Hope for the Village Child has a clinic on site. More recently I've been going to the VSO's partner hospital in Kaduna where I'll be immediately seen by a doctor, but then have to wait 1.5 hours for the blood test results to confirm malaria. I've never been not diagnosed, which almost tempts me to self medicate.Malaria comes in different levels, I usually get plus one, which is very mild, but a child once came into the HVC clinic recently with plus four malaria, and if he hadn't received treatment could have died. It's a serious disease, worst for those who cannot afford the drugs or mosquito nets which they need to prevent it, a mild flu for the rest, yet still six times in a year is enough for me. Time to go home. .