Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

August 28, 2013

Man nearly dies from tropical diseases

Adventurer contracts malaria, dengue at same time

VALDOSTA — When international businessman and adventurer Tony Kincaid arrived at the hospital in March of this year, he didn’t know it but he was close to death. A strong, healthy man in his prime, Kincaid was slowly succumbing to the effects of not one, but two tropical diseases  — dengue and malaria.

Kincaid had been traveling non-stop since returning to the U.S. from South America, and was working temporarily in Louisiana. He flew to Oregon where he began feeling ill, but felt good enough to fly to Denver, Colo., for a meeting. He almost checked into a hospital there, but instead, he flew back to Louisiana, got in his car and drove the hundreds of miles to his home in Nashville, Ga.

Less than 24 hours later, he was in South Georgia Medical Center, being treated by Dr. Willy Saurina, an infectious disease specialist who is one of the rare physicians with experience treating mosquito-borne illnesses.

“By the time that I saw him, he was nearly dead. If he was old or had any type of other ailment, this would have killed him, but because he is strong and healthy, he was able to recover from the infections,” Saurina said.

Kincaid believes that God was with him, guiding him home to be with his family and to be treated by Dr. Saurina.

“If I had gone to the hospital in Denver, I might not be here today,” said Kincaid.

Cases of dengue and malaria are very rare in the U.S., with fewer than 1,500 cases reported each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Nearly all of those infected contract the disease while traveling overseas, and to contract both simultaneously is extremely rare.

In the last 12 years since moving to Valdosta, Saurina has seen less than a dozen dengue and malaria cases, but enough to know the symptoms and best course of treatment.

“It was so bad, the malaria had spread to his brain. Cerebral malaria can kill you, but I was able to diagnose him quickly as he had one of the classic symptoms. One minute he’d be coherent and the next he’d be confused, and with cerebral malaria, abnormal behavior is common,” said Saurina.

Kincaid said the diseases were wreaking havoc on his mind as well as his body.

“It attacks your body but it also attacks your emotions. It gives you a wild perspective. One minute I was fine and the next, I wasn’t sure where I was,” he said.

Kincaid spent nine days in SGMC receiving heavy doses of antibiotics. At one point, Dr. Saurina told him he was famous.

“He told me, ‘They love your blood in the lab,’ because most of them hadn’t seen this before and they were using my blood as a teaching tool.”

Kincaid attributes his recovery “to God, my wife, Dr. Garcia (whom he sought medical help from initially), Dr. Saurina, the interns and nurses and Ms. Sandra, a beautiful nurse who helped me recover.”

Although Kincaid’s nearly fatal brush with death from mosquito bites is a sensational story, the story of how he came to be infected is even more so. He is a minerals miner, and was in Guyana in South America mining for diamonds and gold.

Text Only
Local News
  • moonshine bust.jpg Police close illegal drinking house

    After receiving numerous complaints, the Valdosta Police Department shut down an illegal alcohol sales operation Friday.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • election.jpg Black earns most votes in runoff

    State Rep. Ellis Black led the votes for state Senate District 8 Friday with seven of seven counties reporting certified results, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s Office.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140724-LAT1.jpg Little Actors Theatre ready for summer show

    Since 2004, the Little Actors Theatre has provided a place for children ages 6 to 19 to express themselves through acting.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072414-MichelleNunn003.jpeg Michelle Nunn visits Valdosta

    The day after learning that her Republican challenger would be David Perdue, Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful Michelle Nunn kicked off her Common Sense and Collaboration Tour Wednesday by meeting with business owners in Atlanta, Athens and Macon and continued her tour Thursday morning by visiting the David S. Waller Unit facility of the Boys and Girls Club of Valdosta.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • lunch.jpg Valdosta One Lunch feeds summer-hungry kids

    Hunger is a concept that many people associate with third-world countries, not their hometown. However, in Valdosta, hunger is real. To combat this hunger, a group of Valdostans have created Valdosta One Lunch, a program that distributes bagged meals to children in need.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • thumbs up.jpeg Moody squadron commander reaches milestone

    The 75th Fighter Squadron commander hit a career milestone July 17, by surpassing 3,000 flight hours in an A-10C Thunderbolt II.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • water.jpg New equipment expected to deal with Lowndes water violations

    The Lowndes County Commission’s recent approval of $1.6 million for water-treatment equipment is expected to counter a past series of water-quality violations within the county.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 142314-Goodwill.jpg Goodwill hosts the Mexican Consulate

    Mexican citizens living in South Georgia have spent this week lining up at the Valdosta Goodwill to meet with the Mexican Consulate to obtain Mexican government issued identification.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140723-Tree001.jpg Chamber plants 100th centennial tree

    Founded in September 1912, the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce is one of the largest chambers in the state.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 140723 - Operation M#10E3C7.JPG Veterans First

    With Moody Air Force Base expecting to lose 300 to 400 personnel due to government cutbacks, area organizations are working with military personnel about to enter the civilian work force.

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

Top News
Poll

School starts again in about two weeks. What do you think?

It's still summer. School starts too soon.
Seems like the right time to return.
Abolish summer recess. Make school year-round.
     View Results