Is there a suburban sleeping sickness in Libreville?
Background: The transmission of sleeping sickness occurs primarily in rural areas, and exposed populations are those living from rural activities such as agriculture, fishing, animal husbandry or hunting. However, urban and suburban foci are more and more reported in T. b. gambiense areas. In Libreville town, sleeping sickness cases are regularly diagnosed. In order to investigate about the establishment of a transmission cycle of that disease, we have carried out an entomological survey in two quarters in the vicinity of the town.
Methods: Vavoua traps were set out in all suitable biotopes for tsetse flies during four days and examined twice a day. Flies were collected, identified and dissected.
Results: Two species of Glossina were caught: G. palpalis palpalis (90.58%) and G. caliginea (9.42%). A total infection rate of 9.37% was observed after dissection of all non-teneral flies captured.
Conclusion: These results suggest the establishment of a trypanosomiasis transmission cycle in the area. No salivary gland was found infected. Given that infected persons are regularly detected, we can think about the existence of a suburban sleeping sickness focus in Libreville. More analysis is needed concerning the identification of human trypanosomes and the
origin of Glossina blood meals that may confirm the existence of that focus.
Key words: sleeping sickness, suburban focus, Glossina, Libreville, Gabon.
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