This post is from what we have seen, what you can learn from Ponderosa & Survivor Talk (shout out to Dalton Ross and his umbrella!) and my experience as a Science Photographer. We have seen the nasty bites, the nasty Hobbit feet (Stephen Fishbach), and #gastrointestinaldistress. We witnessed a tremendous effort by Joe Anglim at the immunity challenge only to see his body fail him at the end as his legs gave way and he crashed to the ground. What we learned on Survivor Talk was that Joe was sick the whole day and night before. A “bug” was known to be going through camp and contestants were avoiding drinking from the same containers. While Cambodia’s beaches look stunning and pristine, it is the things you cant’s see that could ruin your game and your health.
For the past 15 years, I have taken thousands of scientific photographs with many of them being photos through the microscope. These photos have appeared in science textbooks, medical advertisements and medical journals. So how does this help me? Why should anybody care? Well, it makes me keenly aware of the risks in far flung corners of the world. It means I have a pretty good understanding of the medical risks faced when roughing it. I tend to lean a bit towards being a Germaphobe, so I would be anal about boiling the water and keeping a clean camp and eating environment. It shows I have a tremendous attention to the tiniest of details as well as the ability to recognize and opportunity (taking & selling science photographs) and the drive (15 years of technical & often tedious photography!)
The bites all over Stephen’s feet appear to be from the Sandfly (Phlebotomus papatasi).
It is said they are nearly transparent (when not viewed at magnification as seen in the photograph taken by the CDC) and smaller than a mosquito. It is said their bite is slight and often you don’t even know you are getting eaten alive until 12-24 hours later when your feet erupt in sores. Not only do the Sandflies bite, they are a disease vector transmitting Leishmania parasites. Contaminated drinking water could have Giardia lamblia, a parasitic Protozoan causing nausea, fatigue and the shits.
Roundworms, Flukes and parasitic Protists oh my… Hookworms, Flukes and parasitic Protists oh my…(assuming you got the Wizard of Oz cadence… Strongyloides, Schistosoma and Trypanosoma oh my…
What about some good old fashioned malaria transmitted by the Anopheles mosquito or Yellow Fever from the Aedes argypti mosquito or African Sleeping Sickness from the Tsetse Fly.
All of this adds up to a lot of obstacles on your way to one million dollars! Maybe it means wearing your socks throughout the day and running around like a black-footed ferret (sorry, I have no ferret photos) even if it looks a little silly. It certainly means not drinking water that has not been boiled which brings us back to my ability to make fire from bamboo (see earlier post).