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Tanzan Health Res Bull. 2006 Sep;8(3):168-72.

Knowledge, attitudes and practices on tsetse and sleeping sickness among communities living in and around Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.

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National Institute for Medical Research, Mwanza Centre, P.O. Box 1462, Mwanza, Tanzania.


A study was undertaken to investigate knowledge, attitudes and practices about sleeping sickness (human African trypanosomiasis) among communities living in and around Serengeti National Park (SENAPA). Structured questionnaires were administered to a total of 1490 consenting participants. Of the respondents, 924 (62%) knew sleeping sickness, and 807 (87.3%) knew the right place to seek healthcare. Of 924 who knew sleeping sickness, 386 (42%) said the disease was present in the areas they live. Most respondents (85.4%) knew that sleeping sickness infections were acquired in the bush and forest. The most common (69.3%) sources of information about sleeping sickness were relatives and friends. Symptoms of sleeping sickness mentioned included abnormal sleep (45.2%), fever (35.3%), body malaise (14.5%), headache (7.6%) and lymph node enlargement (6.1%). Of 1490 people interviewed 90.4% knew tsetse flies and 89.8% had been bitten by tsetse flies. The majority (86.6%) of the respondents knew that sleeping sickness is transmitted through a tsetse bite. Activities that exposed people to tsetse bites included working in tsetse infested bushes/forests, grazing livestock in tsetse infested areas and hunting game animals. In conclusion, communities living in and around SENAPA were knowledgeable about tsetse and sleeping sickness. The communities can thus understand and support community based tsetse and sleeping sickness control programmes to ensure success.

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