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Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Print version ISSN 0042-9686


RUIZ, José Antonio; SIMARRO, Pere P.  and  JOSENANDO, Teofilo. Control of human African trypanosomiasis in the Quiçama focus, Angola. Bull World Health Organ [online]. 2002, vol.80, n.9, pp.738-745. ISSN 0042-9686.

OBJECTIVE: To update the epidemiological status of human African trypanosomiasis (HAT), also known as sleeping sickness, in the Quiçama focus, province of Bengo, Angola, and to establish a HAT control programme. METHODS: In 1997, 8796 people (the population of 31 villages) were serologically screened for Trypanosoma brucei gambiense, the causative agent of HAT. In 1998 and 1999, surveys were carried out in villages where HAT cases had been identified in 1997. Individuals were screened using the card agglutination trypanosomiasis test (CATT), and then examined for the presence of the parasite. CATT- positive individuals in whom the presence of the parasite could not be confirmed were further tested with the CATT using serum dilutions, and those with a positive antibody end titre of 1-in-4 or above were followed-up. Patients with £10 white cells/ml and no trypanosomes in their cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) were classified as being in the first stage of the disease. Vector control was not considered necessary or feasible. FINDINGS: The main transmission areas were on the Kwanza riverbanks, where 5042 inhabitants live. In 1997, the HAT prevalence was 1.97%, but this decreased to 0.55% in 1998 and to 0.33% in 1999. The relapse rate was 3% in patients treated with pentamidine and 3.5% in patients treated with melarsoprol. In patients treated with pentamidine, there was no difference in the relapse rate for patients with initial CSF white cell counts of 0-5 cells/ ml or 6-10 cells/ml. The overall mortality rate was 0.6% and the rate of reactive arsenical encephalopathy among the melarsoprol-treated patients was 1.7%. CONCLUSION: The epidemiological status of the disease was updated and the transmission areas were defined. The control methods implemented allowed the disease prevalence to be reduced.

Keywords : Trypanosomiasis, African [epidemiology]; Trypanosomiasis, African [diagnosis]; Trypanosomiasis, African [drug therapy]; Trypanocidal agents; Treatment failure; Risk factors; Epidemiologic studies; Angola.

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