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Travel Health Advice - African Sleeping Sickness

African Sleeping Sickness

What is it? African sleeping sickness is a parasitic infection that comes in two forms - gambiense and rhodesiense. Gambiense causes a chronic illness that shows symptoms after an incubation period of weeks or months. Rhodesiense causes a more sudden illness, with onset a few days or weeks after being bitten. Symptoms start with severe headache, insomnia, enlarged lymph nodes, anaemia and rash. Later progressive weight loss and central nervous system problems are often fatal. How is it transmitted? By being bitten by an infected tsetse fly. Where is it present? Gambiense is present in western and central Africa; rhodesiense is found in east Africa, extending south to Botswana. Level of risk? High if visiting rural areas. What can I do to prevent getting it? Nothing apart from avoiding tsetse fly bites which occur during the day. Insect repellents, however, are not deterrents and flies can bite through clothing. Treatment? The type of treatment depends on the stage of the disease. The earlier the identification the quicker and more certain the cure. If diagnosed and treated early complete recovery is certain.

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African Sleeping Sickness, American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease), Anthrax, Brucellosis, Cholera, Dengue Fever, Diphtheria, Giardiasis, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, Hepatitis E, HIV/AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Influenza, Japanese encephalitis, Leishmaniasis, Leptospirosis (including Weil disease), Lyme disease, Malaria, Meningococcal disease, Plague, Rabies, SARS, Schistosomiasis (bilharzia), Swine flu, Tetanus, Tick-borne encephalitis, Tuberculosis, Typhoid fever, Typhus fever, Yellow fever