Is There Really Dengue Fever in Thailand? Though dengue fever is endemic in Thailand, you don’t have to get it. And you don’t have to suffer years of after-effects if you do.
Three years ago we had a dengue epidemic and several friends went down with it. Dengue was new to me and I was appalled by the severity of their symptoms (one of them is still suffering from the after-effects). I was concerned for two reasons: they were all less than half my age, and all – like me – fitness freaks; and they didn’t know what to do. There was no place they could go that provided comprehensive information about preventing dengue, or about diagnosing, treating, and recovering from it. I heard the same complaint from local expats, too, so I started digging. I read scholarly papers, W.H.O. reports, newspapers and magazines. I interviewed local doctors and public health workers and put together a 12-page brochure that I handed out at the Expats Club. This, of course, made me a dengue ‘expert’, and I was deluged with emails from all over Thailand. More research, more interviews, more hospital visits followed until, to my amazement, I found that I’d accumulated hundreds of pages of information, some of it unique, some had never been published before.
Dengue and Chinese Medicine in Thailand
In Thailand, Dengue fever is endemic and Western medicine intervenes heroically when things go bad. Its surgery is almost miraculously effective. Its diagnostic skills are excellent. But once you’re stable, Chinese Medicine comes into its own by getting you back on your feet in days instead of months. Dengue was discovered in China 800 years ago, and there’s a big connection between Dengue and Chinese Medicine in Thailand. Thais use both Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Western medicine to treat dengue symptoms.
But its prescriptions have nothing to do with health, but with (profitably) suppressing pathological symptoms. In so doing, it has become the leading cause of death in America (and, I suspect, elsewhere).
Our gains in longevity have nothing to do with our medical system and everything to do with public health policies.
So is Western medicine effective?
TCM, on the other hand, is non-interventional by its nature. Which makes it difficult for Westerners to grasp: if TCMpractitioners can’t intervene, what’s the use of TCM?
TCM is essentially a supportive regime that strengthens organs and systems with a view to bringing them into balance or harmony. Then maintaining that balance through seasonally appropriate diet and age-appropriate exercise.
Much of TCM is baked into the Chinese cultural cake: they’ve been using it for 3000 years (Yellow Emperor) and it’s literally part of breakfast, lunch, and dinner now. As are their minimalist exercise workouts. They know to change diets with seasons and they know who to talk to if their energy seems flat: their TCM practitioner, who will usually prescribe a dietary supplement – herbs or meal ingredients – to rebalance the system.
But to us Westerners, for whom ‘balance’ and ‘harmony’ mean little, TCM may seem ineffectual. To them I say, go visit any Chinese town, sit outside a tea house and merely observe the level of energy that Chinese people are able to (cheerfully) maintain, hour after hour. That’s what TCM‘ supportive regime sustains.
So the two cultures have approached the same problem, health, from diametrically different directions. Both work, both are ineffectual in some areas, and both are just beginning to get to know each other.
In Thailand, dengue and Chinese Traditional Medicine are made for each other. Our local hospital network is very experienced with severe dengue (the kind that needs intensive care) and our death rate from dengue is extremely low for a developing, tropical country. Once your dengue fever has subsided, however, it’s time to head to your nearest Chinese herbalist (TCM) and get your poor liver back in shape. Both the dengue infection itself and the painkillers you took for your headache did damage to your liver. And with 800 years experience treating dengue patients, TCM doctors know exactly what to do.
- Researchers Discover Innate Virus-killing Power in Mammals – October 10, 2013: Findings by UC Riverside’s Shou-Wei Ding could help create vaccines against deadly infections, including SARS, West Nile, dengue, Hepatitis C and influenza. … The China native was partly acting on a hunch that started when he was a graduate student at the Australia National University in the late 1980s. …. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center.
- U.S. Officials on Launch of Global Health Security Agenda … – Dengue fever continues to be a problem in terms of infecting at many as 400 million people each year and other diseases like the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome or MERS and also SARS that got a lot of public attention ten years ago. … We’ve already seen a lot of benefits in the work that we’ve been doing and when you look at, for example, the progressing that SARS — that China has made since the SARS outbreak and also with Indonesia in recent years, we …
- Artificial MicroRNAs To Target Dengue Virus | Asian … – Researchers in China have identified artificial microRNAs that target regions of the dengue genome essential for viral replication. … Asian Scientist Magazine | Science, Technology and Medicine News Updates From Asia
- China Battles Worst Dengue Fever Outbreak in 20 Years … – China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) issued a special warning for those traveling in south China to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites and to seek medical treatment immediately if …
Since there was no comprehensive book about dengue, I decided to publish it and spent the next 12 months editing it. Here’s the Table of Contents:
1. What not to Do…
2. What is Dengue?
3. Diagnosing Dengue
6. Children & Dengue
7. Pregnancy & Dengue
8. Severe Dengue
9. Painkillers & Your Liver
10. Recovery & TCM
11. Doctors & Drugs
13. Lab Tests
14. Somebody Stop Me!
15. Call Me Aedes
16. 99% Prevention
17. Insecticides & Repellents
18. Traps, Nets, Coils & More
19. Case Studies
21. Vaccines, Bacteria & GMOs
22. Regular Mosquito Bites
23. Your Community
24. Blogs, Links, Downloads
25. Myths & Rumors
27. Dengue for MDs
And here’s where you can get a copy (it’s $4.95 in the US. Higher elsewhere):
And here’s one victim’s tale: