Bilharzia (tropical disease)

Bilharzia (tropical disease)

I arrived in Kampala feeling very unwell. My muscles were aching, I had back ache and felt unwell and rundown, with little energy. It was midday when I checked into a hostel and went straight to bed. Martha, a Ugandan woman I met in Khartoum suggested we meet when I arrived in Kampala, so she came over in the evening. After a conversation about my health she suggested I visit a doctor in the morning. She repeated this throughout the evening.

I slept on and off for 15 hours. I messaged Martha, and again she said I needed to visit a doctor. I wasn’t up to riding so I got an UBER to the modern surgery Martha recommended.

I left 3 hours later having seen a British doctor, who carried out blood and various other tests. He said I had fever, various parasites and problems with stomach. He then saw the blood test results and said “Oh, you have Bilharzia”. Not knowing what Bilharzia was, I thought ‘great I haven’t got Malaria!’

I was prescribed a bucket load of tablets, and told I couldn’t ride my bike for about 5 days, as the side effects of the tablets could cause dizziness, even the possibility of fainting. Easy decision to stay put in the hostel.

From what the doctor told me and some research, I had a tropical disease. Parasites in my blood, which if untreated can be life-threatening. 

I still felt ill due to the Bilharzia, which was now compounded by the side effects of the medication. I felt awful: dizzy, my vision was blurry, and I felt really unwell, bad enough to make to go to bed and rest for a few days. Four days later and I feel good again.

Thanks to Martha, I was diagnosed early, which meant the treatment was quick and effective. Thanks Martha

4 Responses

  1. Wow Dan, had me scared there for a bit while reading your post. How did the parasites get you? Unclean water perhaps?

  2. Well that leaves a lasting mark on your “One Cool Ride”! I doubt you will forget Uganda ! Ha!
    I’m glad you’re feeling much better though.
    Stay clear of unboiled / untreated water /salads and juices that you’re unsure of !
    Safe travels!

  3. No idea, I haven’t been swimming since the Dead Sea. Many people seem to have had it. Off riding today

  4. Thanks again. Off to west Uganda today, to get improved experiences of Uganda. When you’re next in London, look me up x