Sleeping Sickness


Sleeping sickness, also known as African trypanosomiasis, is a parasitic disease caused by the Trypanosoma brucei parasite. It is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected tsetse flies (Glossina genus) found in sub-Saharan Africa.


Gambian Trypanosomiasis (Trypanosoma brucei gambiense):

Gambian trypanosomiasis is the most common form of sleeping sickness, accounting for over 98% of reported cases. It has a chronic progression with mild initial symptoms, leading to severe neurological complications if left untreated.

Rhodesian Trypanosomiasis (Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense):

Rhodesian trypanosomiasis is the less common form of sleeping sickness, responsible for the remaining reported cases. It has a more acute progression, with a rapid onset of symptoms and a shorter time interval between infection and death if untreated.


Early Stage:

  • Fever and fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches and joint pain
  • Swollen lymph nodes

Late Stage:

  • Sleep disturbances (insomnia followed by excessive sleepiness)
  • Neurological problems (confusion, poor coordination, and difficulty walking)
  • Behavioral changes
  • Tremors and muscle twitching


Medical Interventions:

Sleeping sickness requires specialized treatment with medications to eliminate the parasites. The choice of drugs depends on the parasite subspecies and the stage of the disease. Medications may be administered orally or through intravenous injections.

Preventive Measures:

  • Wearing protective clothing and insect repellents
  • Sleeping in screened or air-conditioned rooms
  • Using bed nets treated with insecticides
  • Controlling tsetse fly populations through insecticide spraying and environmental management