Human African Trypanosomiasis

Awakening to new drugs against sleeping sickness

Sleeping sickness kills tens of thousands of people in Africa each year. Current chemotherapies are subject to various limitations, including resistance. Rhodesain, an enzyme of the parasites that cause this illness (human ...

May 17, 2013
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Human African trypanosomiasis, sleeping sickness, African lethargy, or Congo trypanosomiasis is a parasitic disease of people and animals, caused by protozoa of the species Trypanosoma brucei and transmitted by the tsetse fly. The disease is endemic in some regions of sub-Saharan Africa, covering about 37 countries and 60 million people. It is estimated that 50,000 to 70,000 people are currently infected, the number having declined somewhat in recent years. The number of reported cases was below 10,000 in 2009, the first time in 50 years. It is believed that many cases go unreported. About 48,000 people died of it in 2008. Four major epidemics have occurred in recent history: one from 1896–1906 primarily in Uganda and the Congo Basin, two epidemics in 1920 and 1970 in several African countries, and a recent 2008 epidemic in Uganda.

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