Friday, August 26, 2005

Lancet publishes research on sleeping sickness by Eric Fevre, University of Edinburgh

Note in this report by AFP about an epidemic of sleeping sickness spreading in Uganda, how a bite on a human by a blood-sucking tsetse fly carrying the Trypanosoma parasite from cattle to humans, initially causes fever, exhaustion and aching muscles and joints, leading within weeks or months to progressive confusion, personality changes and seizures as the infection invades the central nervous system. Sounds familiar. I've heard of similar symptoms emerging as a result of tick (Lyme disease) and spider bites here in England. The report posted at Sudan Tribune is copied here in full for future reference.

Aug 26, 2005 (AFP Paris) - A five-year-old effort to curb sleeping sickness in part of southern Uganda has failed, according to a study that says the dangerous epidemic has now spread to other districts.

Sleeping sickness, a potentially fatal disease if not tackled in its early stages, is caused by the Trypanosoma parasite, transmitted from cattle to humans by the blood-sucking tsetse fly.

In 2000, the authorities in Soroti district, southern Uganda, launched a control programme, dosing cattle with long-acting drugs to kill the parasite, after tests showed that as much as 18 percent of local herds were carrying the parasite.

But the latest study, based on blood tests carried out in the area in April 2004, shows that the main parasite strain is present in 22 percent of local cattle and similar infection rates occur among cattle in three villages just outside the intervention area.

In addition, infections have been reported in the district of Kaberamaido, potentially putting another 133,000 people at risk, and in the southern part of Lira district.

An especial worry is that the spreading epidemic could eventually overlap with another epidemic of sleeping sickness which is unfolding in Uganda's northwest and in southern Sudan.

The two epidemics are caused by different parasites that need different diagnostic tools and drugs, so an overlap would greatly add to treatment costs.

The research, which appears in this Saturday's issue of the British weekly The Lancet, is lead-authored by Eric Fevre of the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

His team reckons that 428 cases of sleeping sickness were diagnosed in Soroti over the five-year period, but as many as 300 more may have gone unspotted.

Fevre blames livestock movements, abetted by instability in southern Uganda, as the cause for the failure in Soroti.

In East Africa, sleeping sickness is endemic to parts of Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia as well as Uganda.

The parasite initially causes fever, exhaustion and aching muscles and joints, leading within weeks or months to progressive confusion, personality changes and seizures as the infection invades the central nervous system.

Tag:

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home

 Subscribe in a reader

Get UGANDA WATCH by Email

Sudan Watch

Congo Watch

Ethiopia Watch

Niger Watch

Russia Watch

Tehran Watch

North Korea Watch

Syria Watch

China Tibet Watch

Nepal Watch

Powered by Blogger