Paging Nurse Kristina.

Like most people, I’m not a big fan of needles or shots.  I had to get quite a few inoculations before arriving in Sierra Leone, and I’m still trying to erase that memory from my mind.  As most people know, Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of which there is no vaccine to protect against.  One can take a preventative anti-malarial drug but it will not necessarily protect against all strains, nor is it meant for long-term usage.  I stopped my daily dosage in December when dry season began, and will likely start again in the rainy season.  Without that extra layer of protection, I do my best to screen my skin with long-sleeved shirts, pants, socks and shoes even when the temperature is pushing 95˚F/35˚C.  Acting carefully, regarding mosquito bites, certainly isn’t a guarantee, but seriously reduces the risks.

Unfortunately, everyone isn’t as heedful, and a few people in camp have contracted malaria in the last few months.  Today, I pulled on a pair of rubber gloves and administered a malaria detection test to one of the drillers who had fallen ill.

These kits are useful, especially since malaria can typically be treated with a course of oral tablets taken over a number of days.

I tried my best nurse impression, but I chickened out a bit with the needle and had Alastair prick the man’s finger to draw blood.  Needles…ouch (I guess I’d never make a good nurse).

Regrettably, the man’s test came out positive for malaria and because he was feeling seriously ill he was driven to a clinic in Koidu for proper treatment.  We’re all hoping he’ll make a quick recovery and use this event as a reminder to take precautions.

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