I recently emailed Jeremy Wade of the TV show River Monsters on Animal Planet to ask his advice on certain factors when trekking in the Amazon. Jeremy is an accomplished angler and biologist with much experience in the Brazilian Amazon.
My questions were as follows:
- Do you ever use a water purification pump for drinking when in the Amazon?
- How you deal with waterborne diseases such as trichomoniasis, leishmaniasis, etc?
I am a huge fan of River Monsters and its host, Jeremy, and highly value his input. I promptly recieved this email in response, despite the fact he was on location filming the next season of River Monster’s coming on in 2010:
Water filter of some kind a good idea, various different ones on the market, but to be honest most of the time (except when on film trips) I’ve just drunk straight from the river. But I do have a fairly cast-iron constitution, possibly a result of getting quite ill in the past and then getting over it.
On a cycle trip, though, where you don’t want to be laid up at all by illness, water quality very important. Incidentally you should be able to get bottled mineral water in quite a few places, if that’s OK. As for general illnesses, it’s just the basic thing of washing hands before eating (there are some good hospital-style spray-on soaps which evaporate after application, which are very good) and keeping fingernails short. You can’t really do much about stuff in the water, or insect borne (apart from anti-malarials and repellents and a lightweight mosquito net) — except get checked out when you get home.
Make sure you treat small wounds (you probably know this) as in the tropics they can get worse if not attended to.
Definitely a good idea to learn as much Portuguese as possible too….