Dengue Update: Still Down, But I’ve Turned the Corner


First, I would like to thank all my family and friends that sent kind words and well wishes for my speedy recovery. I can report that I think I’ve turned the corner, and am beginning to be human again.

I’m feeling much better, and while I’m not back to 100% (not even 65%), I’m on the mend. Most of the strange side effects have diminished, part of my appetite has returned, and with Terri’s hand-holding, I was able to walk a couple of blocks today. It wasn’t pretty, but I did it!

I’ve never known anyone with Dengue Fever, and am not sure if this recovery timing is normal, but man-oh-man, am I happy to be better.

Dengue Fever is a scary disease, and the effects can vary tremendously. Some people hardly notice they have it. Others slip into a coma and don’t wake up. I was lucky. According to the CDC, other than treating the symptoms, there’s no way to prevent it, treat it, or cure it. Think about THAT in light of today’s medical miracles. As many as 100 million people are infected each year (now including me), and there’s nothing to be done about it.

As a result of my experiences, I can offer our fellow travelers out there three pieces of advice.

1. When any illness comes on as quickly and violently as this one, if you aren’t in a place where you’re confident in the medical facilities, then get there as quickly as possible. You’re going to need medical help, I promise. And you want access to competent medical staff.

2. If you’re traveling with a partner, great. You’re going to need help. Dengue for me was totally debilitating, and I couldn’t have made it on my own. I needed help with everything, and Terri was there. If you’re traveling solo, think seriously about finding someone to help out for a few days.

3. And finally, prepare yourself mentally for taking it easy. Travel is about moving, moving, so making the transition to forced downtime takes some adjustment. Overdoing it will only prolong your recovery.

Apparently, I am now immune to two of the four types of Dengue. That’s the good news. The bad news is that when you’ve had dengue before and catch it again, it’s much more likely to go into Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever. This is not a happy thought, and obviously, I will be paying more attention to Dengue in my future travels. In the meantime, thanks again everyone, and …

Happy Trails,


We're Terri and James Vance - high school sweethearts who went on to international careers and became world nomads. Today, 65 countries later, we're still traveling ... and still in love. Check out Our Story for more of the backstory at

4 thoughts

  1. Thank you James, for good information about Dengue fever for life concern and be careful….also leptospirosis is also really bad. Seems Thailand have all…

    1. Thanks for the comment Luksana. I had never heard of leptospirosis, and had to look it up. It does sound nasty as well. I think that I caught Dengue in Cambodia, Singapore, or Bali (probably Bali). I’ve actually had it twice (two different types) and the first time I got it in Belize in Central America. Is Dengue common in Thailand?

      1. Leptospirosis to becareful in Thailand in rice field area, muddy pond or flood….that may have rat’s urine mixture with water. then it get through body and not go away. Many years pass by the very high fever and yellow skin and worse and it can come back anytime. It is not completely gone away. One story from tourist I met in Koh Change many years ago, his friend died from Dengue got from Koh Chang..Sad

      2. Yes Luksana, that is very sad. Dengue is a very scary disease, and luckily I made it through OK. There are lots of scary diseases out there, but I try not to dwell on them. I take as much care as possible, but frequently, it’s just luck whether you do or do not catch something.

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