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CyberDodo and the TseTse fly (1-47)

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Is the sleeping sickness serious ?

The sleeping sickness is a term which could tend to make you smile since everyone knows that it is both pleasant and necessary to get regular rest. In reality, however, it is a very misleading name since the humans and animals who are infected with this illness are not condemned to sleep but to death !

This terrible illness is transmitted by a parasite : the trypanosome which needs a vector or, in other words, a carrier to infect its victims. The organism indeed found an adept carrier in this insect, which has become very famous for the devastation it causes : the tsetse fly.

A fly ? No, a killer

How does the tsetse transmit the disease ?

The trypanosome organism found in the tsetse fly a perfect accomplice for his mission of destruction because the fly does not appear to be affected; the parasite (trypanosome) and its host (the fly) live in harmony.

In feeding on blood, the fly is infected from the first bite of a human or animal already infected with trypanosome. From that time on, the organisms will multiply in the insect which will spread the illness in the course of future attacks.

The tsetse's proboscis is just like a seringe, allowing the fly to effectively suck the blood of its victims. While doing so, the tsetse will infect them with his saliva which contains trypanosomes ergo, the illness is transmitted.

One must be very very careful with these insects !

Is there only one form of sleeping illness ?

No, there are several forms, affecting both humans and animals, more and less severely.

Among animals, it is primarily livestock that are affected (Bullock, cows, goats, sheep, pigs) but also horses and camels.

Where are tsetse flies found?

In Africa, where depending on the region, the fly will infect humans with Trypanosoma brucei gambiense (Trypanosomiase of eastern Africa = Forests, watering holes, etc.) or Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense (Trypanosomiase of eastern Africa = Savannahs, etc.) or one of the following forms : Trypanosoma brucei brucei, congolense, simiae, suis and vivax which affect animals.

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