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rharvey999

Question about an illness

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One of our best friend couples accompanied us on a recent (Mid-May) cruise to the Western Caribbean. The itinerary was Roatan, Belize and Cozumel. It was pretty much a normal, fun cruise on the Navigator. The only excursion we took on Roatan brought us to Victor Boden's Monkey and Parrot farm. The following is a request from the wife of the couple.

 

 

"Within 3 weeks after our May cruise both my husband and I developed illnesses. My illness was low grade fever, all over aches and pains. It went away in about 3 days but returned again, the 2nd time with low grade fever but severe muscle and joint pain, headache and not able to eat. My doctor chose to give me a round of doxycycline and the problem went away. My husband began to develop a different set of symptoms around the same time. He started with loss of balance that has progressed to the point he needs assistance to walk. He has no pain. Over the last several days he has begun to run a low grade fever. Has anyone else developed similar symptoms?"

 

I should add that my friend has had every test imaginable done to him since we returned, but so far every neurologist in our area is stumped since no one can find any diagnosis or clue as to what is going on.

 

Any help that anyone can offer about a similar circumstance following a cruise to those ports recently might help us and the doctors figure out what the heck is going on. Where is "House" when you need him?

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One of our best friend couples accompanied us on a recent (Mid-May) cruise to the Western Caribbean. The itinerary was Roatan, Belize and Cozumel. It was pretty much a normal, fun cruise on the Navigator. The only excursion we took on Roatan brought us to Victor Boden's Monkey and Parrot farm. The following is a request from the wife of the couple.

 

 

"Within 3 weeks after our May cruise both my husband and I developed illnesses. My illness was low grade fever, all over aches and pains. It went away in about 3 days but returned again, the 2nd time with low grade fever but severe muscle and joint pain, headache and not able to eat. My doctor chose to give me a round of doxycycline and the problem went away. My husband began to develop a different set of symptoms around the same time. He started with loss of balance that has progressed to the point he needs assistance to walk. He has no pain. Over the last several days he has begun to run a low grade fever. Has anyone else developed similar symptoms?"

 

I should add that my friend has had every test imaginable done to him since we returned, but so far every neurologist in our area is stumped since no one can find any diagnosis or clue as to what is going on.

 

Any help that anyone can offer about a similar circumstance following a cruise to those ports recently might help us and the doctors figure out what the heck is going on. Where is "House" when you need him?

It is possible that the cruise had nothing to do with it.

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One of our best friend couples accompanied us on a recent (Mid-May) cruise to the Western Caribbean. The itinerary was Roatan, Belize and Cozumel. It was pretty much a normal, fun cruise on the Navigator. The only excursion we took on Roatan brought us to Victor Boden's Monkey and Parrot farm. The following is a request from the wife of the couple.

 

 

"Within 3 weeks after our May cruise both my husband and I developed illnesses. My illness was low grade fever, all over aches and pains. It went away in about 3 days but returned again, the 2nd time with low grade fever but severe muscle and joint pain, headache and not able to eat. My doctor chose to give me a round of doxycycline and the problem went away. My husband began to develop a different set of symptoms around the same time. He started with loss of balance that has progressed to the point he needs assistance to walk. He has no pain. Over the last several days he has begun to run a low grade fever. Has anyone else developed similar symptoms?"

 

I should add that my friend has had every test imaginable done to him since we returned, but so far every neurologist in our area is stumped since no one can find any diagnosis or clue as to what is going on.

 

Any help that anyone can offer about a similar circumstance following a cruise to those ports recently might help us and the doctors figure out what the heck is going on. Where is "House" when you need him?

 

Have they been tested for chikungunya?

 

http://www.cdc.gov/chikungunya/

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It is possible that the cruise had nothing to do with it.

 

Of course it is possible and this conundrum they face probably had nothing to do with the cruise. Our friends and their doctors are asking many questions about this illness. They are just trying to touch as many bases as possible.

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My daughter caught dengue fever on a trip to Malaysia which had similar symptoms. And I know it is becoming more prevalent in the us and Caribbean and South America now. Maybe worth a simple blood test to find out. No treatment is available other than rest and fluids unfortunately. Took 4 weeks for her to begin to feel normal again.

 

I hope they get a diagnosis and feel better soon.

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The woman seemed to also have symptoms similar to Dengue Fever which is a mosquito born illness. There is dengue in Roatan and other islands throughout the Caribbean. So far there have been no reported cases of chikungunya in Roatan, Belize or Mexico according to the CDC.

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If you feel you may have been infected by a disease in another country, it's important to see an "Infectious Disease" doctor - not just a family practitioner or neurologist. This type of physician specializes in diseases like this. Make sure you give a complete history, places of travel, symptoms, tests performed, lab work, and previous treatment and test results.

 

There are many things that can cause symptoms you have discussed, and may not be related to travel at all. A simple tick bite in the US can cause similar symptoms - Ehrlichiosis, Lyme Disease, and Rocky Mountain Spotted fever are all examples of tickborne diseases found right here in our country that can cause fever and joint/muscle pain.

 

Mosquitos are notorious for carrying different diseases - particularly in other countries. Chicungunya, that was previously mentioned, is a good example. There has been a rise in the occurrence of this disease in the caribbean lately.

 

Wish you well...

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Hmm, that is interesting. We were on the same ship / same itinerary in the end of July. The day after we flew home, my husband had me take him into urgent care because he couldn't stand up straight and was very dizzy. He did not have a fever though. He did have swelling on both feet and his blood pressure was severely high. They diagnosed him with Vertigo.... He has taken the meds and really wasn't sure if they helped or not but the dizziness, swelling and blood pressure has gone back to normal. He still feels ill and the drs don't know what is going on...

Please keep us posted on any diagnosis you may get.

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It actually sounds a lot like Lyme disease. I said Lyme because that's within the normal period of time for symptoms to occur. Doxycycline is used to treat it (and many other illnesses) because it's very effective. I was given a one time dose almost 2 months ago in the ER after a tick bite. DH couldn't remove the entire tick and I couldn't as it was in my back. I've since been tested and it was negative, but I did a lot of research on Lyme and the symptoms you describe fit.

 

Other than that, my first thought was also chikcungunya, but from what I've read that resolves on it's own because antibiotics do not work against it because it's a virus and not bacterial. But the incubation period is usually less than a week and no more than 12 days, on avg 2-3 days so that wouldn't fit with the timeline.

Edited by BND

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I second Doc Rick's suggestion above of consulting an infectious disease specialist.

 

I hope you both are feeling 100% very soon.

Edited by MrsMick1

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Everyone has been very helpful and that is much appreciated. Although the wife has not been active on Cruise Critic the "patient" husband has. I have passed all of your comments to them just in case.

 

As an aside he was given Immunoglobulin while in the hospital and as an outpatient infusion while waiting the test results on many of the conditions mentioned above. So far no positive results.

 

With the permission of the patient and family I will share future outcomes and hopefully a diagnosis that can be treated effectively.

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This is a great place to seek medical advice. Maybe later, we can have a discussion on long term investment strategies....:rolleyes:

 

I know that reply will probably be deemed by some as "snarky", but really is this the place to seek medical advice??:rolleyes: I love CruiseCritic but can't imagine seeking medical advice here or anywhere else on an internet forum......

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I know that reply will probably be deemed by some as "snarky", but really is this the place to seek medical advice??:rolleyes: I love CruiseCritic but can't imagine seeking medical advice here or anywhere else on an internet forum......

 

I'd like to think the OP is on here asking about medical advice since the friends they cruised with got sick AFTER a Caribbean cruise....

Also, since there are a lot of people on CruiseCritic on a daily basis, it is likely that someone else may have had a similiar situation...

 

Are we not a cruising community that looks out for each other... Geez!!

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I'd like to think the OP is on here asking about medical advice since the friends they cruised with got sick AFTER a Caribbean cruise....

Also, since there are a lot of people on CruiseCritic on a daily basis, it is likely that someone else may have had a similiar situation...

 

Are we not a cruising community that looks out for each other... Geez!!

 

I disagree. You want advice about specialty restaurants, drink packages, excursions? Great, this is the place! This person is looking for medical information? And this is the best option he or she could come up with? Totally inappropriate, and if I ran this place, I'd wipe this thread out in a heartbeat. No reason to have random anonymous posters and their collective ignorant speculation on here. Just a bad idea all around.

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Don't really think the OP was seeking "medical advice" as much as an issue other cruisers may have experienced since the doctors currently seem stumped with their friends' symptoms.

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I disagree. You want advice about specialty restaurants, drink packages, excursions? Great, this is the place! This person is looking for medical information? And this is the best option he or she could come up with? Totally inappropriate, and if I ran this place, I'd wipe this thread out in a heartbeat. No reason to have random anonymous posters and their collective ignorant speculation on here. Just a bad idea all around.

 

Are you nuts??? I would post the same thing in a heartbeat if someone I knew had the same problems. They are seeking any information they can find and attempting to see if anyone else has had similar symptoms after a cruise to that area. If you don't have anything to add, skip the thread and ignore it.

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Don't really think the OP was seeking "medical advice" as much as an issue other cruisers may have experienced since the doctors currently seem stumped with their friends' symptoms.

 

Are you nuts??? I would post the same thing in a heartbeat if someone I knew had the same problems. They are seeking any information they can find and attempting to see if anyone else has had similar symptoms after a cruise to that area. If you don't have anything to add, skip the thread and ignore it.

 

I am another who if my (or a friends) doctor was stumped would ask if others have had any similar symptoms. I would not be looking for "medical advice" per se, but information to take back to my doctor to help them diagnose my symptoms.

 

When you are at a loss you look for information wherever you can and start with the people who were in similar places to you.

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This is a great place to seek medical advice. Maybe later, we can have a discussion on long term investment strategies....:rolleyes:

 

As it so happens I do have some ideas on long term investment strategies.

 

It would be different if the OP was going to an internet forum instead of going to the doctors, but crowdsourcing can be a great tool. The people who post on CC often have been on many cruises and do a lot of research into ports and destinations. While the doctors are going though their academic knowledge, getting some ideas from seasoned cruisers about possible infections common in these three specific ports of call can be helpful. The OP's friend can then take this information back to their doctor and request additional tests on top of what the doctor already has planned.

 

CC is a wealth of knowledge, on my cruise in May I got some great career advice from another CC member on the computational finance sector.

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I am another who if my (or a friends) doctor was stumped would ask if others have had any similar symptoms. I would not be looking for "medical advice" per se, but information to take back to my doctor to help them diagnose my symptoms.

 

When you are at a loss you look for information wherever you can and start with the people who were in similar places to you.

 

akcruz is absolutely right.

 

It's not like they came here asking questions before seeking treatment from their doctor. I would be very curious if other cruisers had similar symptoms as well.

 

I wish them a speedy recovery.

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I disagree. You want advice about specialty restaurants, drink packages, excursions? Great, this is the place! This person is looking for medical information? And this is the best option he or she could come up with? Totally inappropriate, and if I ran this place, I'd wipe this thread out in a heartbeat. No reason to have random anonymous posters and their collective ignorant speculation on here. Just a bad idea all around.

 

Ignorant? Inappropriate? Interesting choice of words.:( If the mods decide it's not appropriate, then they can shut it down. I'm quite certain they will do so without implying their entire membership is "ignorant."

 

I don't see anything wrong with the OP. They're not seeking medical advice, they're trying to help friends get to the bottom of an illness for which they are already under the care of medical professionals.

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Alright, alright. I know sometimes my posts come across as unduly harsh. But I still stick to my guns a bit on this one. While people here might be well-intentioned, and I respect the OP's concern. I just think this is a very problematic way of trying to glean information about an unknown illness. I agree with the poster who said this person should be seeing an ID specialist. But I fear that an inquiry here is likely to identify a lot more false possibilities and concerns than it is to shed any real light on the issue. As mentioned, there is no way of knowing if this has anything to do with the cruise or travel. But an ID specialist, taking a real history of both the symptoms and the individuals activities would be much more likely to lead somewhere productive.

 

Sorry my blunt approach ruffled some feathers. But I do tend to think a great deal of people here have feathers that ruffle a tad easily!

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Alright, alright. I know sometimes my posts come across as unduly harsh. But I still stick to my guns a bit on this one. While people here might be well-intentioned, and I respect the OP's concern. I just think this is a very problematic way of trying to glean information about an unknown illness. I agree with the poster who said this person should be seeing an ID specialist. But I fear that an inquiry here is likely to identify a lot more false possibilities and concerns than it is to shed any real light on the issue. As mentioned, there is no way of knowing if this has anything to do with the cruise or travel. But an ID specialist, taking a real history of both the symptoms and the individuals activities would be much more likely to lead somewhere productive.

 

Sorry my blunt approach ruffled some feathers. But I do tend to think a great deal of people here have feathers that ruffle a tad easily!

 

When said that way, I see your point and it makes perfect sense.

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