Human African Trypanosomiasis (Sleeping Sickness)

Human African Trypanosomiasis (Sleeping Sickness)

Human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT), also known as sleeping sickness, is a vector-borne parasitic disease caused by infection with the Trypanosoma parasite that is transmitted to humans through the bites of infected tsetse flies.

Impact

An estimated 70 million people in 36 countries in sub-Saharan Africa are currently at risk of HAT. Continued control efforts have resulted in drecreases in the number of reported cases; the estimated number of actual cases is currently 30,000. 

Geography

Sleeping sickness occurs only in sub-Saharan Africa and many of the affected populations live in remote areas with limited access to health services, which hampers the surveillance, diagnosis and treatment of cases.

Symptoms

Early stage symptoms of sleeping sickness include fever, swollen lymph glands, aching muscles and joints, headaches and irritability. In advanced stages, the disease attacks the central nervous system, causing changes in personality, alteration of the biological clock, confusion, slurred speech, seizures and difficulty in walking and talking; if not treated, the person will die.

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Reference:

TDR, the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases. African trypanosomiasis.

 

Prevention

Control of sleeping sickness is based on reduction of the reservoirs of infection by early diaagnosis and control of tsetse flies.

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Reference:

TDR, the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases. African trypanosomiasis.

 

 

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