surviving in the tropics

M. Doherty M_Doherty at NIH.gov
Wed Apr 24 08:19:03 EST 1996

In article <aottolen.7.317D4A1D at postbox.acs.ohio-state.edu>,
aottolen at postbox.acs.ohio-state.edu (Abramo Ottolenghi) wrote:

> A young Peace Corps volunteer I have known for many years is home on leave 
> from her art teaching assignment in a remote area of Ghana.  Altough she 
> describes taking all the appropriate precautions to protect herself as far as 
> food and water are concerned, she has had multiple bouts of intestinal 
> parasite infestations and several febrile illnesses.  On reviewing her 
> procedures a POSSIBLE flaw appears in her washing dishes and flatware in 
> unboiled water with soap (not detergent).  Is this a CREDIBLE flaw?  Comments 
> and discussion will be welcome.  Thanks   A. Ottolenghi  
> (aottolen at magnus.acs.ohio-state.edu)

Well it seems a pretty good way to transmit water-borne diseases to me! 
Soap is not going to have any significant protective effect (and detergent
little more).  Both agents are simply designed to lift grease and such off
your plates - not to protect you from whatever in lurking in the water.

A good approach if she can't face boiling water for washing dishes is to
heat the dishes and flatware after washing (we used to toss it in the top
of the wood stove, which always had at least a small fire going during the
day) and give it a good cooking.

Finally, remember that some of the diseases (at least the febrile
illnesses) may be vectorborne, not waterborne, and no amount of
precautions with the water will help that.

Cheers, Mark

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