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Tsetse flies and the control of African sleeping sickness


African sleeping sickness is endemic in 37 sub-Saharan African countries covering 9M km2 with 60 million of the 400 million inhabitants at risk of the disease. Africa is in the middle of a HAT epidemic and WHO estimate that in 2004 there were 500,000 cases with 48,000 deaths and an impact of 1.53M DALYs (disability adjusted life years).

In 2000 the African Union recognised trypanosomiasis as one of Africa s greatest constraints to socio-economic development. The trypanosomes causing the disease are transmitted by tsetse flies and currently the best means of area wide control of the disease is through vector control. To improve our current capacity to control African trypanosomiasis the African Union has established PATTEC. The African Union-PATTEC plan is to disrupt trypanosomiasis transmission through staged eradication of isolated populations of tsetse fly vectors on an area wide basis and by targeting isolated fly populations ensuring that fly eradication in an area is self-sustaining once achieved.

W.H.O. / TDR has highlighted research goals which are key to the success of this approach and the two major ones are the research objectives of this proposal. First, area wide eradication of vector insects can be achieved in an environmentally acceptable way by the use of targets and traps. We wish to dramatically improve the efficiency of this process by developing novel attractants for use with traps/targets designed for use against palpalis group flies, which currently are the major vectors of human disease.

Secondly, area wide control of the flies depends heavily on understanding the structures and mobility of the vector populations. Our current techniques cannot resolve these issues and we will develop new technologies for this purpose. We have assembled a unique group of European and African scientists who are excellently placed and motivated to achieve these goals through a highly integrated research program.

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Pembroke Place
United Kingdom

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Participants (9)