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Bull Soc Pathol Exot. 2008 Jun;101(3):287-9.

[One century of "sleeping sickness" in West Africa].

[Article in French]

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Centre International de recherche développement sur l'elevage en zones subhumide (CIRDES)/Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD), UMR 177, BP 454, Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso.


This paper summarizes the geography of sleeping sickness disease (or Human African Trypanosomiasis, HAT) over the last 100 years in West Africa, with the objective of identifying today's priority areas for the sleeping sickness surveillance. The history and geography of the disease are based on a bibliographic review of old reports and recent publications on recent results obtained from medical surveys conducted in West Africa up to 2007. This allowed us to situate the historical geography of HAT from the beginning of the 20th century to nowadays. For instance, active HAT foci seem to have moved from the North (savannah area) to the South (forest area) in the last century. Taking into account the limited nature of the information available, endemic HAT presently appears to be limited to areas where annual rainfall is higher than 1,200 mm, although the reasons for this remain unknown. During this period of time there has also been a shift towards the south of the isohyets and of the northern distribution limit of tsetse. Currently the most severely affected countries are Guinea and Ivory Coast, whereas the northern countries seem less affected, but many parts of West Africa still lack information on HAT and remain to be investigated. These observations, put back in the current context of demographic growth and climatic global change, responsible for landscape evolution, political instability and population movements, raise the question of HAT becoming.

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