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» LymeNet Flash » Questions and Discussion » General Support » Lyme in Africa

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Author Topic: Lyme in Africa
ajisuun
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Someone here told me that I should post about how I got Lyme in Africa.

I am a missionary working in West Africa. About 4-5 years ago I pulled a tick off me.

I grew up in western NY, so I knew a little bit about Lyme (but not enough), but I never thought that this African tick could give me Lyme Disease.

I never had the bull's eye rash, so I didn't think anymore about it. I had some flu-like symptoms a few weeks later, but we're used to just not feeling well some days.

We get strange African viruses or mild food poisoning or various mild illnesses all the time, so we don't panic when we don't feel well.

I was nearing the end of my 4 year term so I was already tired, but I did seem to get more tired and couldn't seem to get enough rest.

I was still clueless. I spent a year in the US experiencing bouts of extreme fatigue and joint pain, but I was still clueless. Nothing really seemed constant enough or serious enough to take to a doctor.

I returned to Africa. Everything went well for a year, then it fell apart.

During a particularly busy, stressful time, the Lyme symptoms came to stay.
We thought it might be mono, so I went on bed rest. After a month, I was as tired as when I started.

I was also having joint pain and heart palpitations, daily fever, twitches and of course the brain fog.

A missionary who had gone home with Chronic Fatigue mentioned that her doctor wanted to treat her for Lyme Disease.

She thought I should try it too. So I did.

We don't have great medical facilities here, but we can buy doxycycline over the counter. Yay!

I went on doxy in October 2005 and still take it.

I added Cat's Claw to my routine in August 2007 and after herxing a bit, my joint pain went away.

What a relief! I still can hardly function some days because of the fatigue, but to be mostly pain free has made it possible to continue here in Africa.

I have heard of many other missionaries that have had to return to their home countries because of chronic fatigue and other Lyme-like symptoms.

Since we don't have very good medical facilities, I am self-diagnosed.

The doctor I went to was trained in Europe, but all he checked me for was malaria and hypothyroidism (which I have, but it's under control).

His only other suggestion was depression. I told him depression doesn't cause daily fevers.

Since my symptoms are classic Lyme symptoms and I responded to the doxy by herxing (before I knew that was a typical Lyme response) and after 3 weeks on the doxy I was already seeing progress, I figure I diagnosed myself correctly.

Sorry this is such a long post. Someone thought people would be interested in knowing that there is Lyme in Africa.

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lymeric
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Sorry for your problems. Sounds like you have a good attitude about things! Everybody may be interested in this link to The Naked Prey, a 1966 film set in Africa in which the lead actor was struck by "tick fever" while filming. He remained sick and fatigued during the role and attributed it with helping him get into the character. Check out the "pottery man" clip for good close-ups of his face.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_bQc_rZumOw

[ 12. November 2008, 11:10 AM: Message edited by: lymeric ]

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lou
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Very interesting. I had always assumed that people were getting relapsing fever in Africa rather than lyme disease.
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AP
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I was bit in the Seychelle Islands off the Eastern coast of Africa while doing civil service work...

Glad to see that you've fared a bit better than me!!!

--------------------
Sometimes when I say Oh, Im fine I want someone to look me in the eyes & say tell the truth

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ajisuun
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I have been very fortunate. My symptoms while bad for a while have reduced to almost nothing but chronic fatigue and even that is manageable now. That's the only reason I have been able to stay "on the ground" here when many people I know have had to go home. Most of the others either don't know about Lyme or they don't think they have it. Maybe they don't, but since I take one doxy every day as a malaria preventative, adding another for Lyme treatment has been easy and so far effective.
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adamm
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According to what I've read on Kathleen Dickson's sites, Lyme
was engineered from an African Relapsing Fever spirochete.

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MariaA
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My ex-boyfriend returned from Malawi with malaria- he'd been diagnosed with p falciparum there, and treated with artemesinin and whatever antibiotic they give with it. He got recrudence (ie malaria that returns) within the classic 21 days once he was back in the US. Got retreated with artemesinin and didn't really ever regain normal health- currently, he has a clinical diagnosis of Lyme (we're waiting on test results) and has some very classic Lyme symptoms and is responding to antibiotics.

He easily could have gotten Lyme in the past, and become asymptomatic on his own the first time, but picked up something in Malawi that re-activated Lyme.

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Symptom Free!!! Thank you all!!!!

Find me at Lymefriends, I post under the same name.
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bettyg
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aji...

thank you for posting your story of your lyme and situation on drs. in africa!


my cousin is a missionary whose good friend was in MEXICO, and it appears to have it but was content with the chronic fatigue diagnosis.


best wishes, and thanks for sharing! [group hug] [kiss] glad meds are available for you!

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Peedie
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ajisunn
I'm sorry you have been ill. But I am happy to hear you are treating yourself.
Every night I read a page from my book by Beth Moore "Voices of the Faithful". It is a daily devotional and each page is written by a missionary from somewhere else in the world. Last night I read, "Set Free" and it starts with Psalm 116:16b
"You have freed me from my chains"
This story was written about a 7 year old boy dying of AIDS, by a missionary in West Africa. It closes with a prayer to bring "Hope to Africa".
God Bless you for your work.
What you do there is selfless and loving beyond words.
I just wanted to thank you and let you know-- now that I know of you, you will be remembered in my prayers every night when I read from this book.
-peedie

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GraceT
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ajisuun - Thank you for sharing. That's what this forum is all about.

I am sorry that you have this illness! I hope you can stay ahead of it.

Grace


.

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ajisuun
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Thanks for the kind words, all.

If anyone is interested in knowing more of what I am doing here in The Gambia, you can visit my blog. It's gambiathoughts.blogspot.com

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