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African sleeping sickness and other neglected tropical diseases

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Sleeping sickness (African trypanosomiasis) is a neglected tropical disease that is widespread in rural, tropical Africa and regularly causes death without treatment. After devastating epidemics in the last century, intensive control efforts have resulted in a historically low number of 977 reported cases in 2018, and the goal of eliminating sleeping sickness as a public health problem is in sight.

An oral therapy, fexinidazole, has been developed by the nonprofit organization DNDi (Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative) and its partners, marking a milestone. In August 2019, a new WHO guideline for the treatment of West African sleeping sickness was published with the collaboration of the Institute of Tropical Medicine and International Health. In addition, the Institute advises the WHO Human African Trypanosomiasis Elimination Technical Advisory Group on elimination strategy.

It also focuses on monitoring the evolution and incidence of imported leishmaniasis and optimizing care.

The Institute of Tropical Medicine is part of the German network against neglected tropical diseases:


New WHO guidelines for treatment of gambiense human African trypanosomiasis including fexinidazole: substantial changes for clinical practice. Lindner AK, Lejon V, Chappuis F, Seixas J, Kazumba L, Barrett MP, Mwamba E, Erphas O, Akl EA, Villanueva G, Bergman H, Simarro P, Kadima Ebeja A, Priotto G, Franco JR. Lancet Infect Dis. 2020 Feb;20(2):e38-e46.

Fexinidazol zur oralen Therapie der Westafrikanischen Schlafkrankheit: wesentliche Änderungen für die klinische Praxis. Lindner AK and Stich A. February 2020. Flugmedizin · Tropenmedizin · Reisemedizin – FTR.

Cutaneous leishmaniasis in refugees from Syria: complex cases in Berlin 2015-2020. Lindner AK, Richter J, Gertler M, Nikolaus M, Equihua Martinez G, Müller K, Gundel Harms G. J Travel Med. 2020 Nov 9;27(7):taaa161.