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African Trypanosomiasis is an infectious disease caused by a parasite transmitted by tse-tse flies.

There are two types: the Gambian type in the West and Central Africa and

the Rhodesian type in East Africa caused by two species of Trypanosama brucei, which are transmitted by tse-tse flies. Rhodesian form is quicker in  onset than the Gambian type.

Tse-tse flies are found in the savannah and fresh water.

After a fly bite, a painful inflamed boil will develop. Symptoms begin after 3 weeks of being bitten and include: fever, rapid pulse, headache, weakness, joint pain, and itching. The liver, spleen, and lymph nodes become enlarged. With progression the brain is affected causing behavioral changes, lethargy, and apathy and eventually coma hence the "sleeping sickness".
Blood tests will test for the parasite or anti bodies against it.

A lumbar puncture may be necessary; IV drugs can treat the disease.

The West African type is mostly a human disease-affecting people living close to woodlands along riverbanks where tse-tse flies prefer. Countries such as Uganda, Zaire, and Sudan are affected.

One reason for an increase is that much of the population had to ride near thickets and bush during the recent wars exposing themselves to the tse-tse flies, where as they would have been otherwise safer in their villages. A traveler passing through these countries would be at minimal risk

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The East African type affects wild animal on open Savannah grasslands. People at risk include fisherman, hunters, and sometimes safari tourists.

Symptoms include fever and may be hard to distinguish from other infections.

Usually a painless chancre or boil occurs at the bite of the tse tse fly followed by fever and a rash.

Late stages include neurological symptoms.

Prevention includes insect avoidance, spraying, destroying infected germ life as well as personal protection and DEET.

The tse-tse flies are attracted to bright colors especially blue.

Travelers should wear subdued clothing that blends preferably.

Links for more up to date information on African Trypanosomiasis
:


World Health Organization, WHO
http://www.who.int/health_topics/trypanosomiasis_african/en/
eMedicine
http://www.emedicine.com/med/topic2140.htm
Center for Disease Control  CDC
http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/eid/vol8no1/01-0130.htm
Health Promotion and Education Trypanosomiasis
http://www.astdhpphe.org/infect/trypano.html