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Tropical disease?
Posted by: Cynthia
Date: March 8, 2001 1:19 AM

I recently visited Egypt and one night became suddenly very ill with vomiting and watery diarrhea. I had both at the same time every 10 minutes for about 10 hours before some friends woke up and gave me prescription medicine for vomiting/nausea and I also managed to keep down some Immodium. The diarrhea continued along with bad headaches, fevers, night sweats, a foggy head and dizzy spells (even while resting). I did not eat anything for about a week until leaving Egypt and am in America now. I lost about 8 pounds but have gained most of it back in the past few weeks. My doctor has not treated me for anything except that I take Pamine before eating to reduce the abdominal pain and eliminate diarrhea. None of the tests have shown anything except that my liver enzymes have been elevated - 44 and 57. A HIDA scan was done and was normal. Malaria and hepatitis tests came back negative. It has been five weeks and I am very improved but my liver is still not back to normal and I still can not eat without taking the Pamine first - even then, I get abdominal pain, bad headaches and nausea. Is there a tropical disease that could have caused all this? The doctor said I would have altered the bacteria balance inside my body and might be sick for a couple more months. Is there anything I can do to help my body heal more quickly?

RE: Tropical disease?
Posted by: Ron Kennedy, M.D.
Date: March 8, 2001 1:43 AM

The differential diagnosis would include food poisoning and parasites. If it was food poisoning there is probably not much to do at this time. You should be checked for parasites. A dry blood cell analysis can rule in or out the presence of parasites. If you feel you must know the genus and species, Great Smokies in North Carolina can get the job done. Unfortunately, there are very few labs in the U.S. where parasite tests are even a little bit reliable, but Great Smokies is an exception, although they are rather pricey. As to upsetting your intestinal flora, the solution there would be probiotics.

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