Hooked on Meph

Lean Ganj-Bakhsh

It’s international Blog about Malaria Month. Yes, that’s a real thing.

I suppose, then, that I’ll blog about malaria.

Most of you probably don’t think about malaria… ever. It’s on my mind. I don’t want to get malaria. That seems logical, right? Fever, soul-crushing headaches, chills, the possibility of death – that doesn’t sound appealing. As a PCV living in Bahir Dar, I understand that malaria is a threat. Right altitude, right climate, lots of water. I’ve got to take it seriously.

I’m not an expert so I’ll try to limit the science talk. Two types of malaria are found in Ethiopia: Bad and Really Bad. Bad isn’t fatal but sucks nonetheless. It’s nasty because it stays in your system and can recur. Really Bad, well, that stuff’ll kill ya.

As I’m sure you know, malaria istransmitted by mosquitoes. (You knew that, right?) Back in the states, the bloodsuckers never bit me. Not sure why. Maybe they don’t like my blood. Here, however, I’ve had a few bites, mostly on the legs or feet. I guess Ethiopian mosquitoes have more refined palates.

In the effort to avoid bites, Bad, and Really Bad there are a couple precautions I take: sleeping under a bed net and taking my prophylaxis, Mephaquin.

Mephaquin (mefloquine) is a weekly malaria pill. In addition to providing protection from malaria, meph’s known to have some psychological side effects like vivid dreams. Bonus. Another side effect: depression. Not really a bonus.

As for the dreams, I’ve had only one that I’d call vivid. It was so vivid, in fact, that to this day I’m not sure if it was actually a dream. Basically, it involved several wild animals (dogs, cats, hyenas?) mauling each other to death outside of my window at my host family’s home in Huruta. This dream included the most terrifying noises I’ve ever heard. In my life.

Good times.

That just about covers all I know about Malaria, but don’t worry – a guest post on all things malarial by The Good Doctor is on its way. She studied science, so you know it’ll be good.


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