Guatemalan Infectious Disease: The Road Less Traveled

It’s never easy traveling long distances–factor in a plane delay, a missed flight leading to an unexpected overnight layover in Houston, lost luggage by Guatemalan airline officials, and a three hour bus ride through steep crumbling roads, and you quickly learn it’s all about focusing on the positive.

That being said, I could not be more excited to be penning my first blog entry on the shores of Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, with all my luggage and materials for the next month of research. In this remote southwestern region of the country, Dr. Craig Sinkinson runs the Mayan Medical Aid clinic where he single handedly treats over 14,000 residents, predomintantly of Mayain descent. In his six years running the clinic, he has grappled with an alarming rate of diarrhea amongst his patients. In fact, previous studies show that over 50% of children are infected with a diarrheal virus, bacteria, or parasite.

Thanks to the Institute of Global Health’s Immersion Grant, Dr. S and I will be analyzing the degree of correlation that exists between this possible source and this pervasive disease. But for now, I’m off to bed to prepare for my first day at the clinic. More soon to follow…