Ecuador, Malaria, Anthrax, and Exotic Diseases….

| October 5, 2012 | 16 Replies

Ecuador, Malaria, Anthrax, and Exotic Diseases….


Last month I asked a few friends who live in Ecuador about bugs, exotic diseases, anthrax, mosquitoes, malaria, and whether I should get shots before I travel… I received some pretty interesting and funny comments…. Enjoy the information and all the crazy about Ecuador, malaria, and other exotic things…


She came at night, explored my body,

got on top of me–touched me,

she bit, sucked, swallowed.

When she was satisfied she left… I was truly hurt….

Damned Mosquito


  • I was in Bahia in May and got Dengue fever even though I was diligent about using mosquito repellent. The Manabi coast also has Chagras and Leishmaniasis, which you get from the kissing bug and sand flies, respectively. There are 4 strains of Dengue and Bahia has all 4. Scabies are also endemic to the area and you can get them from sheets and towels that haven’t been washed in hot water, or upholstery, and that means you can get them just about anywhere, including on the bus. I know someone who got anthrax in Canoa and has to have large chunks of flesh removed all the time.
  • January through May is the worst time for mosquitoes but they are on the coast all year long because of shrimp farms and standing water
  • It’s not the season for bugs or mosquitoes right now. Here in Bahia I haven’t seen a mosquito for several months. It was January when they came last year…and then I used spray.
  • Visit Cuenca — no bugs to speak of.
  • Don’t overlook or rule out Hanta Virus (mice) or fleas carrying the plague. Little kids love to play with small dead rodents.
  • And Anthrax…. I thought you had to catch that through the mail???
Oh My God… How has anyone survived this long in Ecuador with all these viruses and diseases?
  • If you are going to the amazon or one of the tributaries rivers get a vaccination for malaria!!! If your not, then don’t. If you get the squirts take Alka-Seltzer or the equivalent!!! If you want to eat off the street venders say your prayers and trust that it’s not dog!!! If you are on the coast put repellent on before 6pm!!! THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT!!! Do not under any circumstance order drinks that need ice!!!
  • The mosquitoes come out every night between 5:30 and 6:00 and it typically lasts about an hour. After 7:00 we seldom see any mosquitoes.
  • There is not a single restaurant within 2 hours of my house that serves ice in the drinks, unless it is made in a blender. Street vendors selling snow cones use block ice. Typically made from unfiltered river water because the locals believe that freezing the water will kill the bugs the same way that boiling does. Freezing does not kill the bugs. Don’t eat the snow cones.
  • The mosquitoes that carry Dengue bite during the day. Henry, the ex-fireman who teaches exercise classes on the beach in Bahia, puts a 50/50 mixture of sunscreen and Off on 3 times a day and says he hasn’t had a mosquito bite in 3 years.
  • I may come out of retirement and go into the body condom business. A huge rubber bag that can encase the entire body with strategic openings. Holy crap…this is a scary place I live in! LOL
  • Just remember to bring Ex-Lax to use if you feel sick. Strong stuff it can knock the s#!t out of Superman…
  • You do know only the female mosquitoes draw blood right?… Bitches
  • I hate it when my bowel gets infected. So what I hear you saying is that Immodium, ExLax, Prep-H, Pepto, Alka Selzer…should pretty much take care of anything dripping, draining, drizzling or drooling.
  • I don’t know how much validity this has, but after having a few GI problems the first couple times I came down, I started drinking fresh coconut water every day and I haven’t had any problems since.
  • Remember a happy bowel is one that moves freely…


Hope you got a giggle out of this – If we listened to everyone’s horror stories, especially from the CDC and US government sites, about everything you can ‘catch’ or ‘contract’, we would just stay home under the covers and be scared.


The thing is…if you look really close, the covers you’re hiding under are made of something that’s not good for you. The bed or couch you’re sitting on is full of volatile chemicals. The plaster walls have asbestos and are painted with lead based paint… The world can be a scary place if you let it be.  Better to get out of bed, off the couch, and do some living!


Thanks to my friends at Ecuador Expats and Ruta Del Sol Mates for inspiring this little post. You can find them on Facebook.


How about we finish off with a great song.


I have a lot of favorites…. This one hit the charts in 1979 in the United Kingdom…. Anyone here “play the street life” in the late seventies and early 80’s?


Have a great weekend everyone…




One last thought… I just noticed that the word vacation and vaccination are the same but with a little “sin” in the middle.  Love a good play on words…



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Category: Living in Ecuador, Moving to Ecuador, Visiting Ecuador

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  1. Morning Update – Friday, October 5, 2012 « South of Zero | October 5, 2012
  1. George, thanks for starting my day off with a good laugh. Me gusta mucho Cuneca.

    • Ecuador George says:

      Hey, how come Cuenca doesn’t have any disease? Just don’t play with any dirty rats….. Stay well Lenny and we will be in Cuenca in a few months for another visit… George

  2. We are hoping to visit you, and Chad once you get comfortable in Ecuador. I will keep this post in mind before making the trip…love the Saxophone!!

    • Ecuador George says:

      Hey Jodean…. I think you are the first family member to post on my site… I love it! We will get rid of all the bugs when you guys come visit… And I will check it all out to make sure it is safe. No drive by shootings in Ecuador so we won’t have to worry about that… Love you. George

  3. Sheila says:

    Hey George! Funny stuff! I had heard that there may not be many bugs in Ecuador, but I guess that’s if you stay off the coast! ;o) Luckily Harvey and I are not beach people. . . we like the cooler air. Maybe that’s why there’s not as many bugs in Cuenca.

  4. Hey Sheila,
    Bugs and other bad things are everywhere, no matter where you go in the world. Looks like the coast of Ecuador has it share, especially during the first few months of the calendar year. Later to you too, George

  5. Hank says:

    Well, here I sit. I’ve been emailing my wife throughout the afternoon as we peruse available flights on the web. She’s at work and I’m at the cottage.

    We’re now booked into Guayaquil at the end of November and will take a couple weeks to explore the Ruta del Sol. We have targeted a few towns and will be staying in hostels along the road. We’ve researched our fingers to the bone and should be ready for whatever we find.

    Damn the mosquitoes! Full speed ahead!

    I’m only taking one of the big cameras with me this time, but I expect to hang out at a few places that will provide a good deal of subject matter. We’re carrying backpacks and dealing with my disability. It is going to be fun!

    • Ecuador George says:

      Hank, you are the guy that I complimented on his writing style months ago… Is it you? I love that you are going. Travel as light as you can but those cameras are important considering you photos are as good or better than your writing style. Good luck and please let us know how things are going… Good luck my friend. George

    • Paul says:

      Hi Hank: I am curious as a photographer the places you visited, how the weather was and was it worth taking a large camera (I am assuming you mean a DSLR/lenses? Cheers, Paul

  6. Jim says:

    George: I spent time in Venezuela (Caracas, Pto. La Cruz, Morichal). We had several folks come down with Dengue fever.The mosquitoes seemed to prefer the heavy forest tree canopy. Not the nicest disease. Mosquitoes were no problem in Caracas….may have been the altitude….most likely the air polution…smog is very effective in killing mosquito larvae. Also, in the remote areas we saw some BIG cat prints….they fed on the local wild burro population. May be the same in remote areas of Ecuador so stay alert.

  7. Steven says:

    First ,thanks for all of the info. What can Black Americans expect if they decide to live in Cuenca regarding racism?

    • Ecuador George says:

      I had the same question you had on my first trip to Ecuador. I wanted to know if I would be accepted or if there was a prejudice towards Americans… not black Americans, just Americans… and what I found was a loving, friendly, happy people for the most part. At no time have I seen or heard of a problem with racism. We also spent two days with a beautiful Black American woman and at no time did I feel or experience any type of bad behavior. Good luck and see you in Cuenca… George

  8. Jeff (aka Phar Koff on FB0 says:

    Don.t worry too much about diseases and insects. I have lived in Africa, lived in the Indonesia jungle, spent a long time in Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand. Lived in Singapore and Malaysia, Only had to worry in one place about insects and that was when working in the Niger River Delta in Nigeria. Malaria can be deadly there, Here in Australia we have some nasties in the spider family, ants that bite, hornets etc etc. I have also spent some time in Bolivia and Peru but never had much trouble from insects except on one visit to Machu Picchu when I got a lot of bites from something on my arms.

    Here yesterday in our laundry room I happened to c glance upwards and there were about 20 medium sized spiders on the ceiling and the top of the wall. I sprayed them with several different flysprays and only cockroach spray finally dealt with them, I have always dislikes spiders. They must have hatched in the room so big mama is probably still there somewhere! I will get her!!!!!! One other experience in South America. I stayed in an old wooden house in Puerto Montt for a week……last night there I woke up in the night and put the light on, I wished I hadn’t for on the top of the bedroom walls where the timbers joined were some quite large black evil looking spiders in almost every joint area right around the room. I can tell you that I didn’t sleep for the rest of that night. I was glad that was my last night there! They were probably quite harmless. Sleep easily in Ecuador!

    • Ecuador George says:

      Jeff, First of all you are a very bad boy for being such an instigator on that Facebook post… I loved it, even though I am still not up to speed on the topic. Hard to form an opinion without information… Secondly, thanks for the heads up on all the bugs you have run into in your life. Stay around please, I want to learn from your experience. I might end up not agreeing with you but that is ok too… Geroge

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