Anonymous Traveler Asks: What Crazy Travel Bugs Have You Caught?

Travel News — By Zain Iqbal on January 21, 2011 at 4:49 pm

It’s a rite of passage for nearly every traveler to the developing world– a trip to the doctor’s office to get shots filled with all sorts of immune boosters and prescriptions for pills to prevent a variety of different maladies. 17D vaccine for yellow fever? Check. Hepatitis A and B boosters? Definitely. Malarone or chloroquine for malaria? A must. In the case of George Clooney, who frequently travels to Sudan to bring awareness of the conflict in that region,  luck ran out on his attempts to shake off malaria.

The New York Post reported that Clooney is currently shaking off his second bout of malaria. Although 250 million people are stricken with the disease each year, a strict regimen of anti-malarial medication can reduce the effects to “ten bad days” instead of a death sentence, according to the actor.

Still, it’s a fair reminder of the perils of traveling to many tropical and subtropical regions. Not only can you pick up malaria, but there are a fair number of nastier bugs that will either flatten you in seconds or simply gross you out. We did a quick Friday afternoon survey of a few NileGuide employees and the results were, surprising! Either our employees have superhuman immunity or they’re super careful:

Amy: On a school trip to Athens she had a terrible bout of food poisoning, probably brought on by some poorly cooked moussaka.

Rachel: Practically a vegetarian growing up in healthy California, she once discovered ballpark hot dogs in New Jersey. Unfortunately, her stomach ended up paying a heavy price.

Alex: He claims his immune system is impervious to most maladies and attributes it to his daily-dirt baths and twice-daily cachaça tastings.

Zain: He was eating mushroom soup in Uzbekistan once and bit into a piece that didn’t taste entirely right. The result was a week-long battle with amoebic dysentery.

The winner? Rachel’s brother: While it wasn’t exactly a malady of the microscopic kind, he did tear his ACL on a school trip to Israel and had his entire leg immobilized in a full-length cast. Suffering from the effects of a morphine drip, he was placed in the first class cabin on the flight home, only to be seated next to Dr. Laura Schlessinger who chatted him up the entire way home.

So what have you managed to catch while traveling overseas? Share it with us!

Do you have a question that’s been gnawing at your travel bones, but aren’t interested in sharing it with with Facebook friends, Twitter feed, or putting it in an e-mail chain to loved ones and/or office mates [Ed. note: Sigh.]? NileGuide can help. Send us your question to ( or via direct message to Twitter @NileGuide and we’ll do our best to find some answers!

Tags: anonymous traveler asks, george clooney, malaria, tropical diseases


  • Natalie says:

    While in Northern India, I contracted a skin eating staphylococcus aureus on the bottom of my foot. Heres what happened:

    After walking around in the Punjab in my rainbows and sperrys for ten days, I got a small cut from stepping on god knows what. by the time i was home, my right foot looked as though it was about to fall off. and it was.

    I went to urgent care and they had no idea what it was, but they tore off half the skin on the bottom of my foot, which let me tell you, was porbably the most painful experience of my life. At least it saved my foot.

    After a month and a half of barely walking, taking heavy dosses of antbiotics, and contracting the staphylococcus aureus about two more times, i was finally healed. To celebrate the life of my right foot, that May I ran bay2breakers.

  • Rachel Greenberg says:

    Oooh Natalie’s is pretty good!!

  • Rachel Greenberg says:

    And I guess I was terribly mistaken about my brother’s injury.

    So as it turns out he sat next to Dr. Ruth Westheimer not Dr. Laura (which is waaaay funnier) and he dislocated his knee cap (which later had to be surgically re-attached), and didn’t tear his ACL.

    I’m pretty sure that’s still a great story though!


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