The health and safety of the Peace Corps volunteers remains of high importance to the staff here in Guyana. And for good reason, for it is easy for us to get ill or have some kind of security concern.
For starters, we have received a host of vaccinations and still have another round to go. Here’s a list of the immunizations I’ve received to date, as well as the upcoming ones:
MMR (Measles, Mumps, and Rubella
Hepatitis A #1
Hepatitis B #1
Hepatitis B #2
Hepatitis A #2
Hepatitis B #3
Despite these precautions, several members of our group of 23 have already fallen ill. The most serious illness that one of us caught was Dengue fever, which has taken him out of training for two weeks so far. Thankfully, the Peace Corps put him up in a hotel with air conditioning.
The bad news is that according to a recent Newsweek cover story, mosquito-transmitted dengue is on the rise. Tahiti had tens of thousands of cases last year, several people died on Fiji of the severest form of dengue, and Hawaii had its first epidemic (more than 100 cases) in 50 years. And just this week, while visiting Dean in Essiquibo, I visited with another volunteer who just recently had dengue. I suppose the loss of my toenail is much better than some of the alternatives.