On Wednesday, Massachusetts General Hospital announced that a man who recently traveled from Liberia had contracted malaria. The hospital was also monitoring him for Ebola.
Metro: When and where did you contract malaria?
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Weber: It's very vivid. I lived for four years in West Africa. I was about 30 years old. I was doing doctoral work… Mosquitos are rampant, so you never know when infection happens. There is no real way of protecting yourself.
Metro: What did it feel like?
Weber: There were phases of cold sweats and feeling really hot. You have to change your sheets three times a day; you're just losing so much water. Your body is just white, and you feel every muscle that you didn't know you had. It feels like a pounding, almost like a migraine behind your eyes. You feel weakness. You feel pain. It just comes on all at once.
Metro: How long did it take to recover?
Weber:About six to eight days. I had an IV and malaria pills.
Metro: What was the worst part of the experience?
Weber: Realizing that this thing had just come onto me so quickly, not to mention being so far away from home. I thought, 'How am I going to handle this?'
Metro: Do you think more needs to be done in malaria affected countries?
Weber: Definitely. We ramped up all the money for AIDS but the things that are regularly keeping people from being healthy on a regular basis are malaria and cholera.