Deadly disease found in sickly 'Naked and Afraid' contestant

George Back
Producer, Yahoo Entertainment

During the Naked and Afraid XL season finale we learned that Trent Nielsen was suffering from an unknown illness that left him weakened to the point that his teeth were falling out. Concerned for his safety, a medical crew tested his blood — and the results weren’t good.

Nielsen was informed by the medic that he tested positive for malaria. Malaria is a mosquito-borne parasitic disease whose symptoms include severe headaches, fever, nausea, and diarrhea. Hundreds of thousands of people die from malaria every year.

Since Nielsen was already weakened from the challenge, the disease hit him hard. He was administered the antibiotic doxycycline to combat the disease, but he refused to quit the challenge because he was so close the 40th day and extraction.

“To go through this extraction in the condition that I’m in with the malaria, it’s going to make it much harder, but I want to be with my team all the way to the end,” Nielsen said.

Despite his weakened state, Nielsen managed to swim crocodile-infested waters and hike five miles, earning much respect from his fellows. Contestant Matt Wright said, “Trent is one of those that he’s not going to let a little malaria slow him down.”

Nielsen completed the challenge and made a full recovery.

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