Sleeping sickness in southern Sudan

By 1990 the disease seemed to have been nearly eradicated. Over a period of ten years, Belgian and German doctors had reduced the number of sleeping sickness cases in the Western Equatoria province of southern Sudan from around 1,000 to just 75 per year. But when the civil war flared up at the beginning of the 1990s, the doctors left, including the Sudanese government medical staff. Sleeping sickness - transmitted by the tsetse fly - returned with a vengeance. It even affected areas that had never suffered before, such as the village of Ibba with its 7,000 people. In just a few years the village lost a third of its population.

MSF opened a sleeping sickness clinic in Ibba in February 1999. This is an MSF report on the fight against a deadly epidemic.


Sleeping sickness or human trypanosomiasis only occurs in Africa. An estimated 55 million Africans run the risk of infection.