Edinburgh woman's warning after falling 'deathly ill' from mosquito bite on holiday

Cara Pyper, 22, had no idea she was dealing with dengue fever
-Credit: (Image: Kennedy News and Media)


An Edinburgh woman who became seriously ill while on holiday has said her friend almost "called a priest" when she began acting "possessed".

Cara Pyper had been in Bali, Indonesia, for two weeks when she began to feel "deathly unwell". The 22-year-old developed headaches, muscle pain, fatigue and a high temperature.

Her friend who was on holiday with her, Abbi Whorriskey, filmed Cara while her arms were waving around. The duo didn't realise it was dengue fever, and thought it might have just been a hangover so continued sight-seeing.

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Cara said: "It was hell at the time. I felt deathly unwell. About two weeks in to our holiday I literally just got overcome with this random sickness.

"I felt like I had been hit by a bus. My whole body just felt heavy and sore.

"I thought it was maybe just a hangover. I was in shock when I woke up and saw the video Abbi took. I don't know if I was hallucinating in my dream.

Cara's friend Abbi assumed she had been "possessed"
Cara's friend Abbi assumed she had been "possessed" -Credit:Kennedy News and Media

"I've never moved in my sleep like that before. My friend was terrified obviously, she thought she was going to have to call a priest."

Cara, who is currently studying education at university, said she put herself through 'hell' as she tried to continue enjoying and exploring her holiday.

Cara said: "I needed to sleep for 24 hours a day but because I was in Bali I wanted to push myself to go to the monkey forest.

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"I started to get better five or six days later but it was unwell for eight days. I looked so bad that a waiter asked me if I was okay because I looked so sick.

The 22-year-old is now hoping to warn other holidaymakers and backpackers to layer up, wear mosquito spray and rest as much as possible if they think they have dengue fever.

The pair thought Cara was just facing a hangover
The pair thought Cara was just facing a hangover -Credit:Kennedy News and Media

Cara said: "I think dengue fever is at its height right now. It doesn't just happen in Bali though you can get it in lots of countries, it was just from a mosquito bite.

"I'm no stranger to mosquito bites so I was wearing mosquito spray but I'd definitely warn others to maybe just put on a few extra layers."

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NHS advice on dengue fever:

If you're in a country where dengue is found, the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

You can do this by: wear long-sleeved clothing and trousers to cover your arms and legs, particularly during early morning and early evening; use insect repellent on your skin (ideally one that contains the ingredient DEET); close windows and doors whenever possible, or use blinds or screens; sleep under a mosquito net treated with insecticide, including during the day.

There is no treatment for dengue, but you can help ease your symptoms by: resting, drinking plenty of fluids, taking paracetamol to help bring down your temperature and ease any pain.

Do not take anti-inflammatory painkillers like ibuprofen or aspirin. These can cause bleeding problems if you have dengue.