Sleeping sickness or human African trypanosomiasis (HAT) is a vector-borne parasitic disease that is fatal if left untreated. It is caused by a single-celled protozoa belonging to the Trypanosoma genus. Parasites are transmitted to humans by the bite of a tsetse fly (Glossina Wiedeman, 1830 genus) that has acquired the infection from human beings or from animals harboring the human pathogenic parasites. The disease takes two forms, depending on the parasite involved: the chronic form due to Trypanosoma brucei gambiense Dutton, 1902 found in west and central Africa which represents more than 97% of reported cases and the acute form due to Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense Stephens & Fanthams, 1910 found in eastern and southern Africa. Sleeping sickness is restricted to sub-Saharan Africa, in the range of the tsetse vector. Tsetse flies are specifically distributed within their area: they are closely related to vegetation which forms a screen from solar radiations and wind and which is itself dependent on the presence of surface or underground water, that increases the humidity of both atmosphere and soils. Thus, sleeping sickness is a public health problem where the vector, the parasite (and its reservoir hosts) and humans co-exist.
Human African Trypanosomiasis in Suburban and Urban Areas: A Potential Challenge in the Fight Against the Disease- Lisette Kohagne Tongue
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Last date updated on June, 2014