BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Africa
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-------------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 
Friday, 21 April, 2000, 09:42 GMT 10:42 UK
Quick treatment for sleeping sickness
Africa map
A number of countries are affected by sleeping sickness
By Ania Lichtarowicz of BBC Science

A group of scientists has discovered a new treatment for sleeping sickness which has reached epidemic proportions in some parts of Central Africa.

The disease is fatal if left untreated and is caused by a parasite carried by the tsetse fly.

It is estimated that up to half a million people have been infected and that more than 60 million are threatened by the disease.

The current treatment is long and complicated, but now a shorter programme has been tested in patients in Angola, according to the British medical journal, The Lancet.

Cheaper

When an individual is infected, the parasite multiplies in the blood and lymph glands.

It then gets into the central nervous system and causes major neurological disorders.

Even with successful treatment some of the neurological changes can be irreversible.

A team of doctors from Switzerland and Angola treated 250 patients with the drug melarsoprol for 26 days and another group of 250 for 10 days.

The team found that effects of the treatment were similar for each group but that far fewer patients deviated from the drug regime in the shorter programme.

Researchers believe the shorter treatment programme will give a practical and economic alternative to the current method.

This will save money on drugs and hospitalisation in epidemic situations and in areas with limited resources for health care.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
Africa Contents

Country profiles
See also:

Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to other Africa stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Africa stories