Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Fever evokes painful snail memories

A deadly threat is hanging over the world's top cricketers in New Delhi, and for once it is not the force of Grievous Bodily Harmison. To date, 55 people have died in India (22 in Delhi) after an outbreak of dengue fever across the region.

Although there is no effective vaccine to cure the fever, the ICC have sought medical advice and told players to take precautions against the aedes mosquito, which bites during the heat of the day. As a result, players have been seen coming down to meals in long-sleeved clothing covered in repellent.

I doubt whether players are on malarial tablets too. My wife and I risked the wrath of this recently in India to be free from random dreams and weird thoughts that some anti-malarial's produce, and we are still living very happily.

I haven't been so lucky in the past. I picked up Bilharzia (a friend thought it was a bloke) in Malawi a few years back which also managed to make it into FHM's top 50 worst diseases. This was the only good thing to come out of it as - block your eyes - a nasty parasite enters the skin and starts making a family. These 1cm worms (diagram procedure pictured) feed on red blood cells in your stomach and generally make life a misery. My mate got another form of it, Katayama's fever, and ended up with spots all over him and a front page photo in the Norwich hospital rag.

Do you know of any worse diseases out there which cricketers' would be better off without?