How can molecular diagnostics contribute to the elimination of human African trypanosomiasis?

Expert Rev Mol Diagn. 2015 May;15(5):607-15. doi: 10.1586/14737159.2015.1027195. Epub 2015 Mar 18.


A variety of molecular diagnostic tests for human African trypanosomiasis (HAT) (sleeping sickness) has been developed. Some are effectively used for research and confirmation diagnosis in travel medicine, usually following non-standardized protocols. Others have become commercially available as diagnostic kits. WHO aims to eliminate HAT as a public health problem by the year 2020, and zero transmission by the year 2030. This article gives an overview of the recent progress in molecular diagnostics for sleeping sickness, including the most recent data on test performances. Also discussed is how molecular diagnostics can play an important role in the process toward the elimination of HAT.

Keywords: DNA; RNA; Trypanosoma brucei gambiense; Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense; control; diagnosis; elimination; human African trypanosomiasis; sleeping sickness.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Congo / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Molecular Diagnostic Techniques* / methods
  • Molecular Diagnostic Techniques* / standards
  • Prevalence
  • Public Health Surveillance
  • Trypanosoma brucei gambiense / genetics
  • Trypanosomiasis, African / diagnosis*
  • Trypanosomiasis, African / epidemiology
  • Trypanosomiasis, African / parasitology
  • Trypanosomiasis, African / prevention & control*