Journalist Nick Brown, Reuters bureau chief in San Juan, Puerto Rico, tells all about his unsettling experience when infected with the Zika virus there earlier this year.
It began with what felt like a punch in the throat.
I assumed it was irritation from the cigar I’d smoked on my deck that afternoon in mid-June. But the sensation hung on. Within three days, I had a 102-degree Fahrenheit (38.9 degrees Celsius) fever, chills and bed-drenching night sweats.
For two weeks, symptoms came in waves. A skin rash. Joint pain. Then a dull throbbing behind my eyes. There was pain and redness too, in a certain exclusively male region, which ibuprofen didn’t relieve.
Then, I felt better. But a week later, the symptoms staged a comeback, with more eye pain and something new — small welts on my eyelids and temples. I had sporadic headaches, was so exhausted I slept 10 hours a night and even failed to wake up for a flight.
My mother was the first to suspect I was infected with the virus that arrived in Puerto Rico in December 2015, four months after I’d begun an assignment as Reuters’ San Juan bureau chief.
Initially, I laughed off her internet diagnosis as the overwrought worries of a long-distance mom. But I agreed to see my long-time physician during a visit home in late June.
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