African trypanosomiasis primary prevention

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-In-Chief: Pilar Almonacid, Aditya Ganti M.B.B.S. [2]

Overview

Prevention and control focuses on the eradication of the parasitic host, the tsetse fly. Methods of primary prevention of African trypanosomiasis include use of insecticides to control the vector, use of new construction compounds in building walls and roofs, and organ/blood testing prior to donation. Regular active surveillance, involving case detection and treatment, in addition to tsetse fly control, is the backbone of the strategy for control of sleeping sickness.

Primary Prevention

Prevention and control focuses on the eradication of the parasitic host, the tsetse fly. Regular active surveillance, involving case detection and treatment, in addition to tsetse fly control, is the backbone of the strategy for control of sleeping sickness. Two alternative strategies have been used to reduce African trypanosomiases.

  • One tactic is primarily medical or veterinary and targets the disease directly using monitoring, prophylaxis, treatment, and surveillance to reduce the number of organisms that carry the disease.
  • The second strategy is generally entomological and seeks to disrupt the cycle of transmission by reducing the number of flies. For in depth information on prevention of the disease via tsetse fly control see Tsetse fly control.

Prevention of Tsetse fly and other insect bites

  • Wear protective clothing, including long-sleeved shirts and pants. The tsetse fly can bite through thin fabrics, so clothing should be made of thick material.
  • Wear khaki or olive colored clothing. The tsetse fly is attracted to bright colors and very dark colors.
  • Use insect repellent. Though insect repellents have not proven effective in preventing tsetse fly bites, they are effective in preventing other insects from biting and causing illness.
  • Use bed netting when sleeping.
  • Inspect vehicles for tsetse flies before entering.
  • Do not ride in the back of jeeps, pickup trucks or other open vehicles. The tsetse fly is attracted to the dust that moving vehicles and wild animals create.
  • Avoid bushes. The tsetse fly is less active during the hottest period of the day. It rests in bushes but will bite if disturbed.[1]
  • Avoid walking on bare feet. Use of footwear minimizes the risk of infection.

Vaccine

There is neither a vaccine nor a recommended drug available to prevent East African trypanosomiasis or West African trypanosomiasis.

References


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