I commented on my last post that I was suffering from headaches, which I put down to the altitude, and nausea which is something I'm never troubled with. During this week I got a bit worse and then by Thursday had started to pick up with the nausea subsiding and headaches minimising. On Friday I arrived home from language school to the news that two children from another missionary family had been diagnosed with typhoid and paratyphoid. This, added to another missionary who had been diagnosed with typhoid on Thursday, was a cause for concern for all of us. We decided it would be prudent to get a blood analysis done which indicated, to my great surprise, that I was at least a carrier of the bacteria. I decided to get a second opinion and had my blood rechecked at a more expensive laboratory down town on Saturday. This result came back even higher showing that I wasn't just carrying the bacteria, but suffering from typhoid.
To cut a long story short, I saw a doctor this morning who frankly was more interested in my weight and lectured me on a whole new healthy lifestyle regimen. As far as the typhoid was concerned she reckoned that the treatment of antibiotics I had already started Saturday morning were sufficient intervention at present. I had phoned a doctor friend in Antrim A/E on Friday night who had advised me to start antibiotics even if my blood test was only marginal.
My symptoms are not excessive, and even though I was fairly ill last week (apparently suffering from typhoid), I am not even close to being as ill as others who have or have had typhoid. What I believe has prevented me from suffering as badly from the infection as might have been the case, was the typhoid vaccine I got a month before leaving. It's not 100% effective, so whilst it hasn't prevented me from getting typhoid altogether, it has seemingly limited its severity.
My main concerns at the minute are to treat the infection, and then to make sure to eradicate the bacteria completely from my body. Many people treat the infection but once the symptoms are gone they return to normal living, but continue to carry and spread the bacteria which apparently like to hide in your gallbladder (sorry if that's too much info). One website I was reading said that a recent study showed that asymptomatic carriers (people who have no symptoms) have been proved to play a essential role in the transmission of typhoid globally. Well I can't speak authoritatively about global transmission, but I can say that some kind soul (sarcasm) freely transmitted their bacteria to me here in Arequipa! The bottom line is that I don't want to pass this nuisance on to anyone else so I plan to isolate myself as necessary, which means I can't attend language school, and try to not pass on the infection to others around me, which among other things has meant me eating pancakes with latex gloves on. Perhaps a little over-the-top but better safe than sorry.