Holly McKenzie-Sutter, PRESSURE OF CANADER
Published Wednesday, July 3, 2019 3:17 PM ADT
ST. JOHN 's, N.L. – A woman is warning full travelers to research any foreign trips abroad after herself and some other Newfoundland have been ill from a mysterious disease traced back to Cuban cave.
Terri Murphy of Paradise, N.L., traveled to Cuba with her husband on 27 April, but her symptoms such as fever did not appear until 21 May, weeks after her return home.
X-rays showed nodules in their lungs and showed low-blood tests. His condition prevented local doctors, who thought that lung infection could be a type of pneumonia.
A clue to her illness came from a chance meeting she made on the tour with Newfoundlanders family who had a mutual friend.
Murphy and her husband traveled to the group on a journey involving cave diving in the province of Matanzas Cuba. Back in Canada, some of their new friends were also ill.
Murphy and the travelers informed their doctors that they knew each other and had the same symptoms, and their illness was identified as a respiratory infection called histoplasmosis, or "cave disease."
Murphy said that the relief of the source of her appointments provided relief from what she called a terrible terrible health issue that she feared could be cancerous.
"You didn't want to be too impressed with the fact that someone else was sick, but at least there was cancer from the board," Murphy said on Wednesday's phone.
Eastern Health, Murphy's local health authority, issued advice to travelers traveling to America, Africa, East Asia and Australia to avoid the disease.
Histoplasmosis is an infectious disease contracted by breathing in airborne spores where bird droppings or bats are interfered with in damp soil.
Eastern Health described her symptoms as "cough and chest pain, breath shortage, fever and cooling, headaches and flu-like illness." This disease can be treated and most of the people do not contract symptoms properties, but it may be serious for infants or people who are at risk from immune systems.
The health authority stated that the consultation was issued following a low number of cases of histoplasmosis in the Eastern Health region. It was not possible to provide an accurate number of cases for privacy reasons, but Murphy said she had heard at least five others.
Although the disease can be treated, it is rare in Newfoundland, making treatment more complex. Murphy said she was waiting to get an anti-fungal medication which had to be approved from outside the province, and was told that she must take the drug for treatment in the three months to a year.
Murphy said that she always had fatigue and cough, and her voice is still scratched and torn from an illness she had come from the most significant trips on her holidays.
"It was great," she said on the cave. " It was so dangerous and so nice as we looked in.
Murphy said that she would advise other travelers to carry out a thorough background check of the regions they are visiting and any planned trips.
"Obviously you need to go and you have to research the journey you are going on with," she said. "You must be aware of the region, the districts, 100 percent."
Murphy wrote a Facebook post about her experience that has been shared thousands of times, and she said that people as far as France are writing to her about similar symptoms, without a diagnosis after traveling abroad.
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