Molecular epidemiology of African sleeping sickness

Hide, G ORCID: and Tait, A 2009, 'Molecular epidemiology of African sleeping sickness' , Parasitology, 136 (12) , pp. 1491-500.

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Human sleeping sickness in Africa, caused by Trypanosoma brucei spp. raises a number of questions. Despite the widespread distribution of the tsetse vectors and animal trypanosomiasis, human disease is only found in discrete foci which periodically give rise to epidemics followed by periods of endemicity A key to unravelling this puzzle is a detailed knowledge of the aetiological agents responsible for different patterns of disease--knowledge that is difficult to achieve using traditional microscopy. The science of molecular epidemiology has developed a range of tools which have enabled us to accurately identify taxonomic groups at all levels (species, subspecies, populations, strains and isolates). Using these tools, we can now investigate the genetic interactions within and between populations of Trypanosoma brucei and gain an understanding of the distinction between human- and nonhuman-infective subspecies. In this review, we discuss the development of these tools, their advantages and disadvantages and describe how they have been used to understand parasite genetic diversity, the origin of epidemics, the role of reservoir hosts and the population structure. Using the specific case of T.b. rhodesiense in Uganda, we illustrate how molecular epidemiology has enabled us to construct a more detailed understanding of the origins, generation and dynamics of sleeping sickness epidemics.

Item Type: Article
Themes: Subjects / Themes > Q Science > Q Science (General)
Subjects / Themes > Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Subjects / Themes > Q Science > QL Zoology
Subjects / Themes > Q Science > QR Microbiology
Subjects / Themes > R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Subjects / Themes > R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Subjects / Themes > S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Health and Wellbeing
Subjects outside of the University Themes
Schools: Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences
Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences > Ecosystems and Environment Research Centre
Journal or Publication Title: Parasitology
Publisher: Camdridge University Press
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1469-8161
Depositing User: Professor Geoff Hide
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2010 10:20
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 10:18

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