Modeling the control of trypanosomiasis using trypanocides or insecticide-treated livestock

PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2012;6(5):e1615. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0001615. Epub 2012 May 15.


Background: In Uganda, Rhodesian sleeping sickness, caused by Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense, and animal trypanosomiasis caused by T. vivax and T. congolense, are being controlled by treating cattle with trypanocides and/or insecticides. We used a mathematical model to identify treatment coverages required to break transmission when host populations consisted of various proportions of wild and domestic mammals, and reptiles.

Methodology/principal findings: An Ro model for trypanosomiasis was generalized to allow tsetse to feed off multiple host species. Assuming populations of cattle and humans only, pre-intervention Ro values for T. vivax, T. congolense, and T. brucei were 388, 64 and 3, respectively. Treating cattle with trypanocides reduced R(0) for T. brucei to <1 if >65% of cattle were treated, vs 100% coverage necessary for T. vivax and T. congolense. The presence of wild mammalian hosts increased the coverage required and made control of T. vivax and T. congolense impossible. When tsetse fed only on cattle or humans, R(0) for T. brucei was <1 if 20% of cattle were treated with insecticide, compared to 55% for T. congolense. If wild mammalian hosts were also present, control of the two species was impossible if proportions of non-human bloodmeals from cattle were <40% or <70%, respectively. R(0) was <1 for T. vivax only when insecticide treatment led to reductions in the tsetse population. Under such circumstances R(0)<1 for T. brucei and T. congolense if cattle make up 30% and 55%, respectively of the non-human tsetse bloodmeals, as long as all cattle are treated with insecticide.

Conclusions/significance: In settled areas of Uganda with few wild hosts, control of Rhodesian sleeping sickness is likely to be much more effectively controlled by treating cattle with insecticide than with trypanocides.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biota*
  • Cattle
  • Humans
  • Insecticides / administration & dosage*
  • Livestock
  • Mammals
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Reptiles
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Trypanocidal Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Trypanosomiasis / drug therapy*
  • Trypanosomiasis / prevention & control
  • Trypanosomiasis / transmission
  • Trypanosomiasis / veterinary*
  • Tsetse Flies / growth & development*
  • Uganda


  • Insecticides
  • Trypanocidal Agents