Sleeping Sickness

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Source– This post on Sleeping Sickness has been created based on the article “Chad eliminates sleeping sickness as a public health problem” published in “Down to Earth” on 20 June 2024.

Why in the news?

Chad became the first country to eliminate a neglected tropical disease (NTD) this year and the 51st globally. The disease eliminated is the gambiense form of human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), also known as sleeping sickness.

About World Health Organization (WHO) Validation

1.  The World Health Organization (WHO) has previously validated the elimination of the gambiense form of HAT in seven countries: Togo (2020), Benin (2021), Ivory Coast (2021), Uganda (2022), Equatorial Guinea (2022), Ghana (2023), and Chad (2024).

2. The rhodesiense form of HAT has been eliminated as a public health problem in Rwanda.

About Sleeping Sickness

1. Scientific Name: Human African trypanosomiasis (HAT)

2. Cause: The disease is caused by protozoan parasites transmitted by infected tsetse flies.

3. Impact: HAT is typically fatal if untreated, causing symptoms like fatigue, headaches, and in severe cases, coma.

4. Types of HAT: There are two main types of HAT: Trypanosoma brucei gambiense, which accounts for 92% of cases, and Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense, which accounts for 8% of cases.

5. Diagnosis: It involves 3 steps:

i) screening for potential infection using serological tests (only available for T. b.gambiense) and clinical examination;

ii) confirmation by observing microscopically the parasite in body fluids; and

iii) staging the disease progression via clinical examination and analysis of cerebrospinal fluid obtained by lumbar puncture, if needed.

About Chad

Source: Omniami

1. Location: Chad is an independent state located at the crossroads of North and Central Africa.

2. Borders: The landlocked country is bordered by Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, the Central African Republic to the south, Cameroon to the southwest, Nigeria to the southwest (at Lake Chad), and Niger to the west.

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