Human African trypanosomiasis

The history of sleeping sickness


As a reaction on the transcontinental epidemic at the beginning of the 20th century, utmost (was it disproportionate?) priority was given to sleeping sickness research and, later, to control. As a result of years of intensive control by the end of the sixties impressive results had been obtained practically everywhere. When by the sixties and seventies most of the endemic countries became independent the lack of resources and the low prevalence of trypanosomiasis at that time made that other health priorities took over. The severe epidemics that have broken out recently in various parts of Africa show how great a risk the numerous quiescent but uncontrolled endemic foci represent.