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African Trypanosomiasis includes both the animal and human forms of the disease which are both transmitted by infected tsetse flies. This poses a big threat to the socioeconomic development at all levels among the poor, underserved and rural communities living in the tsetse fly infested African region including Uganda. 
In Uganda, North West, North, South east, and mid South west districts are mostly affected.  However, there are variations from district to district with in regions. There are three components of African Trypanosomiasis control and eradication strategy in the country. Human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), African Animal trypanosomiasis (AAT) and the tsetse fly (vector).

  • Human African Trypanosomiasis(HAT) or Sleeping Sickness

What is Human African Trypanosomiasis?
This is a disease of human that has two types. The   acute type that takes weeks to months and the chronic type   that takes months to years to show signs.
It is caused by organisms known as trypanosomes which circulate in the blood stream of infected humans.  It is transmitted from one person to another through the bite of an infected tsetse fly after feeding on an infected person or domestic/wild game animal.

What are the signs?
Intermittent fever not responding to antimalarials and loss of appetite, headache, joint pains, disturbed sleep habits, impotence or amenorrhea, weight loss, body itching; swollen lymph nodes, swelling of face or ankles, fits and tremors, mental confusion, loss of memory, total apathy or coma leading to death.

Who is at risk?
About 10 million (30%) people of Ugandan population are at risk in the country.  It affects the most productive age group of both sexes (15-45 years).

What are behavioral/Risk factors?

  • Increased activities that bring people in contact with tsetse flies.
  • Presence of people, tsetse flies and animals at water sources such as springs increase a opportunities for disease transmission to occur at the shared  water points
  •   activities that may cause man to enter into tsetse infested bush include farming hunting, fishing, honey gathering, fetching firewood collecting water, making charcoal, sports and games and other recreational activities touring in game parks/ reserves.

What is the impact?
Sustains the poverty disease cycle.  It disrupts normal family life, reduces the household force, causes abortions, sterility and gynecological disorders leading to stigmatization, reduced productivity and lost income hospital bills and transport costs.

What are the preventive measures?
The disease is prevented by proper diagnosis and treatment in a health facility, screening of communities for management, tsetse (vector control), disease surveillance, monitoring and social mobilization and education and avoiding the risk factors.


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