Trypanosoma brucei gambiense causes human African trypanosomiasis (HAT). Between 1990 and 2015, almost 440000 cases were reported. Large-scale screening of populations at risk, drug donations, and efforts by national and international stakeholders have brought the epidemic under control with <2200 cases in 2016. The World Health Organization (WHO) has set the goals of gambiense-HAT elimination as a public health problem for 2020, and of interruption of transmission to humans for 2030. Latent human infections and possible animal reservoirs may challenge these goals. It remains largely unknown whether, and to what extend, they have an impact on gambiense-HAT transmission. We argue that a better understanding of the contribution of human and putative animal reservoirs to gambiense-HAT epidemiology is mandatory to inform elimination strategies.
Keywords: Trypanosoma brucei gambiense; elimination; human African trypanosomiasis; reservoir; sleeping sickness; transmission.
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