Author(s): Louis FJ, Bilenge CM, Simarro PP, Meso VK, Lucas P,
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Abstract The human African trypanosomiasis is essentially a rural disease. The notification of cases in urban area has always been incidental; either a diagnosis made in town revealed a disease contracted in rural environment or it meant the preservation of a complete epidemiological cycle in a remaining urban micro-focus. In Kinshasa, in Democratic Republic of Congo, about forty cases have been notified each year. All of them came from the nearby foci of Bandundu, Lower Congo and Kasaï. In 1996 the number of cases reached suddenly 254 and today the average annual number comes up to 500 in spite of all the efforts undertaken to fight the disease. A study of cases in 1998 and 1999 shows that patients are essentially distributed in suburbs and that the most affected by the disease are the 15-49 year old ones whose job is related with agricultural or fishing activities. Two phenomena seem to explain this sudden increase: the massive inflow of refugees in outskirts of town coming from provinces where trypanosomiasis is endemic and a major economic crisis throwing out urban population in suburbs living on a subsistence micro-agriculture. These concomitant factors have contributed to the setting up of a trypanosomiasis belt around the capital. Today a strategy has to be reconsidered in order to fight against the disease in the capital itself and to make the medical staff aware of the diagnosis of a disease still unknown in their sanitary district.
This article was published in Bull Soc Pathol Exot
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Experimental Pathology