Search reveals no case of human trypanosomiasis in Ghana

A search for cases of the Human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT) commonly known as sleeping sickness carried out in the country under the auspices of the Pan African Tsetse and trypanosomiasis Eradication Campaign (PATTEC) has not discovered any active case of the disease in humans. During the search, which was undertaken in the Western and Upper West regions, which are well known for harbouring the flies that are the vectors of the disease, 10,028 blood samples were collected for testing. Out of this figure, 24 were positive to Card Agglutination Test for Trypanosomiasis (CATT) which was sent to the World Health Organization headquarters in Geneva for further tests for which one of them was confirmed as T.B. Brucei. The search was carried out in some communities in the two regions between 2006 and 2008. Mr. Thomas Azurago, HAT Programme Officer, told the GNA in an interview that 57 tsetse flies were trapped during the survey in four communities in the Western Region and eight of them tested positive for organisms associated with the disease. Both humans and animals especially can get infected with trypanosomiasis through the bite of an infected tsetse fly. Mr. Azurago said the WHO has since April this year introduced a combination of eflornithine and nifurthimox drugs in the management of the disease in endemic countries. He mentioned low level of awareness among health staff about the possible presence of the disease in the region as a major challenge to its eradication.