African sleeping sickness in East Africa

African sleeping sickness is caused by the parasite Trypanosoma due to bites from tsetse flies.

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Geographic risk areas

This leaflet is to inform citizens from the Nordic countries about the risk of Trypanosomiasis. Within the last few years there have been several reported cases of Trypanosomiasis (African sleeping sickness) in visitors to eastern Tanzania. All cases have been visiting either Serengeti or Tarangire national park. Regretfully there seems to be a lack of information from the Tanzanian Ministry of Health to visitors of national parks in northern Tanzania. I have made enquiries about the situation in Serengeti with a veterinary doctor, who is working at the Serengeti Research Centre in Serengeti. He confirmed recently that there don't exist any official reports on the extent on sleeping sickness in Tanzania. Official statistics from 1998 mention that some 200 cases of African sleeping sickness have occurred in Tanzanians. The real number may be much higher.

The population of tsetse flies seems to be on the increase in the Serengeti. About 10% of the tsetse fly population is assumed to be infected with trypanosomes, the parasite which causes African sleeping sickness. However, most of the different types of tsetse flies don't cause disease in human beings or wild animals.