25 June 2009

Rabies and other diseases -- it's all part of the Africa fun

No, I dont have rabies and neither does any one I know. A year ago when we were getting our vaccinations in preparation for moving to Burundi, we were strongly advised to get a rabies vaccination because we are outdoorsy types and not only will we be facing feral cats and dogs, but bats and monkeys as well. However, we were also told that the vaccination is extremely difficult to get in the United States but that wed probably be able to get it in Burundi.

Huh? America doesnt have it but Burundi will? That didnt sound right.

Of course, Burundi did not have spare rabies vaccinations. You can get the shots if you get bit by something, but preventative medicine? Thats just crazy talk. Its only taken a year, but a nurse I work with has gotten her hands on enough stuff to vaccinate us. And it arrived just in time, because a friend of mine was bit by a monkey down south in the Nyanza Lac area and weve recently seen monkeys on our street. Monkey invasion!

The vaccination is three shots within a month. We had our first shot on Tuesday. My arm is achy but surprisingly I havent had any other side effects. (You may remember that I actually got the mumps and measles for a weekend after my MMR shot; only on one side of my body though.) After this round, I should be vaccinated against nearly every possible microbe, bacteria, germ, virus, parasite. Except cholera. Apparently cholera vaccines are even harder to come by than rabies vaccines.

Oh and as a bonus, I dont have H1N1. The nurse doesn’t know exactly what Ive got but the most likely culprit is irritation from all the smoke and dust in the air, since my symptoms worsen whenever the air quality worsens.


Nick said...

Wait, wait, wait...let me get this straight - the Buj didn't have rabies juice for A YEAR but Monrovia had mine waiting on ice when I got here?! Holy hell. Then again, you probably have pavement in Burundi. Touche.

Stephanie said...

We are acquiring pavement on a small percentage of roads. So yes, you could technically say that we have pavement.

Mike said...

Holy hell. Arthur reads my wife's blog!

Nick said...

Well, I'm trying to round out my knowledge of Burundi as I prepare my C.V. for a position with the Burundian Beef Council.

Marylee said...

I have to renew my dogs rabies shots periodically. Do humans have to renew theirs?

Stephanie said...

I think people get boosters, but most people wait until after (if) they've been bitten rather than keep the shots updated.


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