Saturday, November 18, 2017
Domestic pigs are acting as potential sources of sleeping sickness in sub-Saharan Africa.
Domestic pigs are acting as potential sources of sleeping sickness in sub-Saharan Africa.Many of the domestic pigs kept by subsistence farmers across sub-Saharan Africa are carrying the cause of fatal human diesease human African Trypanosomiasis, or sleeping sickness. Across Sub-Saharan Africa, millions of people rely on subsistence farming to survive. Pig keeping is becoming more popular, as they can be maintained in a free-roaming, zero input system requiring little investment of time or money. However the increase in pig farming is also increasing the risk of human infection with a number of pathogens, including the causative agent of acute human African trypanosomiasis (HAT); Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense. T. rhodesiense is a vector borne disease that occurs in discrete foci across East Africa and is transmitted by the tsetse fly. T. b. rhodesiense infection in pigs is usually asymptomatic. As a result they can often tolerate infection for most of their lives, and without clinical signs, the animals will not be treated. In contrast the course of infection in humans is very different; T. b. rhodesiense is a rapidly fatal infection, with death ensuing in as little as six months after becoming infected.