The Internet Times Supplement

Foreign Residents

In Health & Beauty, Nature on January 29, 2009 at 4:51 pm

In my travels throughout the world I have encountered many ‘interesting’ medical issues. My worst being a bite from a sand fly just on the shin by the sock line. In a short space of time this turned into a bad local infection that could have resulted in limb loss. the sand fly bite and infection has been one of the major injuries affecting soldiers in Iraq.

The fly carries two main infection causing parasites – one is a disease that attacks the nervous system and the other causes localised necrosis (i.e. the flesh rots around the bite area). I had tried various anti-biotic treatments and there was extreme concern that it was not getting any better regardless of any treatment. It was only a minor comment from a retired war veteran in our village who had spent time in a Japanese prisoner of war camp. Not having access to reliable medicine supplies it was fairly easy for a minor cut or graze to cause major, life-threatening, infections. The guy mentioned that they had used the pulp from the inside of a papaya skin as a means of alleviating infection. Willing to try anything at this point I tried this. Incredibly, within the space of about an hour or two the burning sensation stopped, the swelling went down, and the wound began to heal. Within a week the wound was ‘comfortable’.

I was reminded of this event in my life when I read about the hate mail that Sir David Attenborough received from Creationists ‘angry’ that he did not make mention of ‘God’ in any of his nature broadcasts. His comments were:

“They always mean beautiful things like hummingbirds. I always reply by saying that I think of a little child in east Africa with a worm burrowing through his eyeball. The worm cannot live in any other way, except by burrowing through eyeballs. I find that hard to reconcile with the notion of a divine and benevolent creator.”

The main reason being the Loa Loa worm that takes up residence in the eye of humans. For the strong stomached, there is a picture of one in an eye here.

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