Because the bus to Loikaw was full and we had already booked our guest house we had to first get the the bus from Yangon to Taunggyi and then onto Loikaw.
All in all this was a 26hr journey. When we arrived we hadn’t eaten in a long time and Mid risked eating a chicken curry which had been out in the sun all day although I advised her against it. Within an hour or so she was extremely ill with vomiting and diarrhea.

I assumed this was food poisoning. After the fourth day we both became very worried and suspected Amoebic dysentery. The internet advised seeking immediate medical attention.

We were told by the insurance company that we needed to go to the local hospital, which is against the advice in the lonely planet.

Our landlady’s son to drove us to the hospital where mid explained her symptoms to the doctor. They first mentioned Gastroenteritis and then ‘Travelers diarrhea’. Finally they settled on ‘Loikaw Syndrome’ which is a virus which plagues the local population. The Hospital didn’t have the technology to be more specific in their diagnosis.

They admitted her for 3 days (2 night) for observation and tests.

She was put on a saline drip over night and was given the antibiotics Ciprofloxacin and metronidazole to kill possible bacteria and parasites. She was also given hyoscine butylbromide to help with the stomach cramps and a pain killer administered through the drip.

I made sure the needle for the drip was a new sterile needle. Unfortunately the nurses seamed unsure as to the best way to insure the needle for the drip and ended up doing it in a way which caused a lot of pain, both initially and for the whole time the needle was in her wrist.

She was given given rehydration salts and blood and uring tests as well as an ecg.

Eventually the vomiting and diarrhea subsided

She still is very weak due to not eating for 6 days, but the diarrhea and vomiting have stopped. She just been discharged and we have just got back to the guest house. She is now resting and hopefully I can go out and find her some food to build up her strength.

The whole experience was traumatic and tiring for both of us. The language barrier made communication incredibly difficult. In the end the hospital didn’t charge us for the treatment. This was either because foreigners get free health care in a move by the government too promote tourism OR because Loikaw happens to have free health care for emergency cases. We are unsure as to which of this is infact the case.

I was charged 20,000 Khat for the use of the Private room for two night which is about £12, but when we got back to a our guest house (Nan Ayar Inn) our landlady cover the cost of the room as a good will get well present.


My Loikaw shoot can also be seen on flickr

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