Ghana free from sleeping sickness

Human African Trypanosomiasis, also called sleeping sickness, has been declared no longer a public health threat in Ghana. In a tweet, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), praised the government, medical professionals, and communities for their efforts in eradicating the illness. He wrote in the tweet, “This is a historic feat, illustrating once again that with dedication and teamwork we can.

In West Africa, Togo in 2020 received validation from the WHO for having eliminated Human African Trypanosomiasis or “sleeping sickness” as a public health problem, becoming the first country in Africa to reach this milestone. Sleeping Sickness is a vector-borne parasitic disease. It is caused by infection with protozoan parasites belonging to the genus Trypanosoma.

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Tsetse flies (Glossina genus) bites, which have picked up the infection from humans or from animals harboring human pathogenic parasites, transfer it to humans. Sleeping sickness is a disease that affects 36 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, and it is almost invariably fatal if left untreated.

Rural residents who depend on agriculture, fishing, animal husbandry, or hunting are the ones who are most vulnerable to the tsetse fly and the sickness. They also have limited access to quality medical care. Trypanosomes can cross the placenta and infect the fetus, which is how the sickness is passed from mother to kid. Additionally, it spreads mechanically through other blood-sucking insects.

Accidental infections have occurred in laboratories due to pricks with contaminated needles. Transmission of the parasite through sexual contact has also been reported.

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