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Sleeping Sickness

Trypanosomiaisis or Sleeping Sickness was our first target disease. Treatment has come along way since pharmaceutical companies are now donating drugs for the Human Trypanosomiaisis form.

Sleeping Sickness is a parasitic disease carried by the tsetse fly, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. People infected become carriers themselves of the disease infecting other fly bite victims.

60 million people are exposed and at risk out of the 400 million in this region of Africa which includes about 32 countries.

SS is treatable. Late stage humans can be treated with eflornithine if it is available or with melarsoprol, a combination of anti-freeze and arsenic. Animal Trypanosomiaisis can only be treated with melarsoprol due to lack of funding for research for new drugs.

KFWH is providing clinics for treatment, treatments, and education in five of its pediatric clinics for villagers in Africa.

Facts About Sleeping Sickness:

  1. Human African Trypanosomiasis is one of the world’s most neglected diseases.
  2. It is a fatal disease if left untreated.
  3. It is affecting 500,000 children, women, and men on the continent of Africa.
  4. It is caused by a parasite called the trypanosome.
  5. It is carried to human beings and animals by the tsetse fly.
  6. The tsetse fly lives only in Africa.
  7. Those people infected may show symptoms immediately, or not for years.
  8. As parasites multiply symptoms include: fever, weakness, sweating, pain in joints, stiffness and, as it migrates to the brain, seizures, madness, coma and death.
  9. People infected become carriers of the picks up the parasite when it bites and carries it to another victim.
  10. 60 million people out of the 400 million people living in sub-Saharan Africa are exposed and at risk, not clear how many actually have. Diagnosis is difficult in such rural areas.
  11. Wars in Africa, health systems broken down, and lack of medicines, weakened the control of this disease.
  12. These countries have major epidemics of Sleeping Sickness : Angola, Congo, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Ethiopia, Malawi, and Tanzania. It has spread to other surrounding countries as well.
  13. Only 3-4 million people are under surveillance for Sleeping Sickness out of the 60 million exposed.
  14. Some villages have as many as 50% of the entire village infected with no access to health services.
  15. Sleeping Sickness is a curable disease.
  16. The disease has early stage, middle stage, and late stage treatments.
  17. Melarsoprol is a compound used to treat, invented 70 years ago.It causes death among 15-20% of people treated.
  18. Eflornithine was discovered as a cure for Sleeping Sickness by Dr. Cyrus Bacci from Pace Lab in NYC in 1979-80? The compound was originally developed in the 1970’s as a possible cure for cancer by Dr. Albert Sjoerdsma, who headed the Merrell International Research Center in France. In 1995, the drug was no longer manufactured.
  19. The drug surfaced again in Vaniqa in 2001.
  20. Aventis of France, agreed to donate a five year supply of drugs in the treatment of Sleeping Sickness- pentamidine for early stage, melarsoprol and eflornithine which has a global value of US $12.5 million dollars. Another 12.5 million was donated for to strengthen surveillance and control.
  21. Lacking a long-term plan, and lacking research, and lacking doctors training as well as further surveillance efforts.

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