The World Health Organization has identified Trypanosoma brucei gambiense (gHAT) as the species that needs to be eliminated from the region and eradicated from the continent. To assess the success of this elimination, highly specific diagnostics are required. A trypanolysis test, which measures parasite levels in the blood, is currently the only way to determine the presence of the disease in a patient. However, this test has biosafety concerns and is not widely used, making inhibition ELISA the more suitable choice for a regional laboratory in an area where gHAT is endemic.
The World Health Organization estimates that fewer than 10,000 new cases of the disease were reported annually in 2009, a time when the disease was under surveillance and was being controlled. Despite these significant gains, there is a long way to go before this devastating disease can be completely eliminated. The global community is working towards achieving these goals, but countries like Benin and Gambia have not reported any new cases for over a decade, due to unstable social conditions. Unfortunately, the diseases are often fatal if left untreated, which means that they must be eradicated and controlled to stop the spread of the parasite.
The prevalence of Human African trypanosomiasis is increasing, but most cases are undiagnosed because the populations living in at-risk areas are not being monitored. To make sure that this epidemic is wiped out, rapid diffusion of interventions across sub-Saharan Africa is required. This will accelerate the decline in transmission rates and help countries meet their 2020 goals. The authors thank the anonymous donors for providing the necessary resources to support the effort.
The WHO recently developed a global coordination network that includes national sleeping sickness control programmes and groups developing new tools for the disease. These groups are composed of a variety of international organizations and non-governmental organisations that are engaged in the fight against the deadly disease. In addition to the national programmes, WHO invites governments and international organizations to participate. The meetings are aimed at improving surveillance and diagnosis. So far, these initiatives are showing promising results.
In many countries, human African trypanosomiasis is a widespread disease. It is a serious condition that can lead to death, particularly if not treated. Its symptoms include changes in behavior, difficulty with speech, and disturbed sleep. It is also fatal if not properly diagnosed. So, it is important to screen for the disease. A high-quality screening campaign can help detect the symptoms early, and help the patient receive the right treatment.
The World Health Organization is hosting an important meeting for stakeholders and national programme coordinators involved in human African trypanosomiasis in Africa. The group includes people from all over the world, including people in sub-Saharan Africa. Some participants of the meeting will include international organizations involved in the disease’s control. Those who attend the meeting will share information about the most effective means of treatment.