“Ah…. … Ashley,” Dr Hassasing sighed as he leaned back in his worn, vinyl chair. “Didn’t I tell you NOT to take Frederick into any of the villages this winter?” The gentle Indian voice that generally brings solutions and comfort now sent a chill spike of worry down my spine. I HAD been told. I had even thought twice before popping Frederick into his little carseat and heading out for our two week field trip in the bush. But he’d only looked at Frederick for sixty seconds- what did he find in such a cursory examination??
I gulped and asked the question that every mother in Africa utters with trepidation, “What does he have?” I braced myself to hear the words “needs a hospital” or “blood transfusion” (not unusual with most African diseases).
“German Measles.” Hassasing had the nerve to smile.
Virtually irradicated in the West by the MMR vaccine, German “measles” (so called for the rash) is very, very common in all parts of Africa. It’s no more dangerous than the common flu if treated carefully and precautions are taken against the baby getting croup. GM gets out of hand in the villages because they don’t take care of the diarrhea, fevers, and hacking cough- in which case this relatively benign illness can quickly become fatal to a small child.
So, while I feel stupid for hitting the trail without the doctors blessing, I know we are exceptionally blessed that it wasn’t something worse.
Now I know that Dr Hassasing isn’t paranoid. He’s experienced. Praise God for the blessing of a good local doctor.
Oh, and I have German Measles too, by the way. Awesome.