Thursday, February 20, 2014

To NIH and back home again- Some info. about malaria


We left this am and were gone for 11 hrs . We have some " homework" to do : ) Collect a stool sample for 3 days into 2 vials a day...That is a total of 42 vials of poop samples. Now I have done this many times before....but always in groups of 2 or 3 kids. We keep each days specimen out of the refrigerator until we have collected all of them and then we mail them back to NIH overnite. My kids already think I am nuts...and now well you can imagine. " You want me to poop in a hat ? Then you are saving them for a few days ? Then you are sending them off in the mail ? " We are also getting company Saturday- Jenn and Jeremiah are home from Haiti for a few my grand babies will also wonder what is Nana doing ?

It was a very informative visit . The Peds clinic and Dr. Nash's team were wonderful. I will share more when we get some results...but they are certain some of the kids have malaria and some other things going on. 

When our children have come home from Ghana they have all been tested for malaria as a routine part of their initial check up and labs. The problem is almost all labs only test using the thick and thin smear test. This has not picked up our children's malaria. The first child that went to NIH was Abby. She went for a different parasite that seemed not to resolve after treatment. So we were refered to the Schistosomiasis doctor. He did a full work up and an ultrasound of her abdomen. Her spleen was large even larger than an adults should be. He immediately suspected malaria and her blood test done at NIH which is the PCR test was positive for malaria. She has been treated . Now to her schist. diagnosis. The eggs that the lab test at our home saw were schist. eggs so that is why we were referred on to NIH. When Dr. Nash looked at them ( and he collected many samples to view ) he could tell they were dead eggs and not live ones.  A person will shed dead eggs for a long time even after the parasite has been treated and basically eradicated. He has traveled all over the world for this parasite. He is a delightful doctor who is also a teacher personality. Very wise and very patient with us and he enjoys sharing all of his knowledge with us as much as we enjoy hearing about the diff. medical issues. 
I share all of this so if you have adopted a child from a country where malaria is prevalent and they have had a lab test that is negative but still have symptoms. Ask what the test was. Was it a thick and thin smear blood test ? The PCR or even a quick antigen is a more sensitive test for malaria. 

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