Sleeping Sickness

Christine Long


Sleeping sickness (trypanosomiasis) is a deadly disease that kills thousand every year. It is mainly located in Africa. Possible vaccines exist, but they have a few downsides. The disease came to exist many, many years ago. Since then, it has been a major concern in East and West Sub-Saharan Africa.

There is both an East African form and a West African form. The East African form tends to cause a much quicker death than the West African form.


The disease is usually transmitted by Tsetse flies sucking human blood. Most human cases come from this.

So far, the efforts, or ones suggested, to control the virus are: isolation and proper treatment of patients, killing of Tsetse flies insecticide, doses of Suramin or Diamidine every 60-90 days, for those who must enter the jungle as part of a job or even live there, moving ENTIRE villages in endemic zones to disease-free zones, or even killing of entire animal species because they're supposedly a "reservoir" for the disease.

Tsetse Fly

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Fewer than 10% of victims of sleeping sickness are treated in time, and, as such, end up dying slowly and uncomfortably over a long period of time

Approximately 20-25,0000 people are infected every year, resulting in an average of 55,000 deaths per year (this is because the disease tends to take YEARS to kill).

Sleeping Sickness is located in Sub-Saharan Africa, in both the East and the West. The disease is most prevalent in these areas, however it could, very rarely, show up in other places in Africa, even the world.

Sleeping Sickness prevelance

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The symptoms of being infected with trypanosomiasis include:

  • Soft enlarged lymph nodes
  • Irregular fever
  • Delayed reaction to pain
  • (in East African form) Eventual death
  • (in West African form) Trypanosomes continue to enter the brain and spinal cord, causing a later death
  • Severe headache
  • Mental dullness
  • Apathy
  • Tremors
  • Paralysis
  • Profound sleepiness when eating or walking

Organs affected

The trypanosomes start out in the blood, from a Tsetse fly. It later spreads to the lymph nodes and spleen, softening both of them. The lymph nodes enlarge. In the West African form, the disease eventually enters the brain and spinal cord.

Trypanosomiasis cycle

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"Sleeping Sickness and Other Tropical Parasitic Diseases." Teen Health and Wellness. Rosen Publishing Group, Inc., 2014. Web. 2 Dec. 2014

Sleeping Sickness chart. Digital image. Web. 16 Dec. 2014.

Sleeping Sickness cycle. Digital image. Web. 16 Dec. 2014.

Tsetse Fly. Digital image. Web. 16 Dec. 2014.

"Types of Vaccines." U.S. Department of Health. Web. 04 Dec. 2014.