The burden of human African trypanosomiasis

Eric M Fèvre, Beatrix V Wissmann, Susan C Welburn, Pascal Lutumba

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Human African trypanosomiasis (HAT, or sleeping sickness) is a protozoan parasitic infection caused by Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense or Trypanosoma brucei gambiense. These are neglected tropical diseases, and T.b. rhodesiense HAT is a zoonosis. We review current knowledge on the burden of HAT in sub-Saharan Africa, with an emphasis on the disability-adjusted life year (DALY), data sources, and methodological issues relating to the use of this metric for assessing the burden of this disease. We highlight areas where data are lacking to properly quantify the impact of these diseases, mainly relating to quantifying under-reporting and disability associated with infection, and challenge the HAT research community to tackle the neglect in data gathering to enable better evidence-based assessments of burden using DALYs or other appropriate measures.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere333
Pages (from-to)-
Number of pages7
JournalPLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2008


  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
  • Africa South of the Sahara
  • Animals
  • Cost of Illness
  • Disabled Persons
  • Humans
  • Malaria
  • Parasitic Diseases
  • Rural Population
  • Tropical Climate
  • Tropical Medicine
  • Trypanosoma brucei gambiense
  • Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense
  • Trypanosomiasis, African
  • Zoonoses


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