Diseases in the VI not on the mainland
I'm currently in school for my BS in Biology, and then on to PA school, and looking to move down there when all down. I was reading the post on Dengue and became interested in some of the other illnesses down there. Ciguatera was very interesting to read about, is there anything else that is common down there.
Antiqueone got me wondering. What is a manchineel tree? So I looked it up:
The tree and its parts contain strong toxins. It will secrete a white milky substance during rainfall. Allegedly, standing beneath the tree during rain may cause blistering of the skin from mere contact with this liquid. Burning the tree may cause blindness if the smoke reaches the eyes. The fruit can also be fatal if eaten. Many trees carry a warning sign, while others are marked with a red "X" on the trunk to indicate danger.
The Caribs used the sap of this tree to poison their arrows and would tie captives to the trunk of the tree, ensuring a slow and painful death. A poultice of arrowroot was used by the Arawaks as an antidote against such arrow poisons. The Caribs were known to poison the water supply of their enemies with the leaves. Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León was struck by an arrow that had been poisoned with Manchineel sap during battle with the Calusa in Florida, dying shortly thereafter.
I definitely will be avoiding this tree it in the future.