Togo has become the first African country to eliminate sleeping sickness as a public health problem, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said.
It received “validation” of the sickness’ elimination after not reporting a single case in the past 10 years, the WHO added.
“Togo is a pathfinder in eliminating sleeping sickness, a disease which has threatened millions of Africans,” said Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO’s regional director for Africa.
Sleeping sickness, or human African trypanosomiasis, is caused by parasites which are transmitted by infected tsetse flies and is only found in 36 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
If left untreated it is almost always fatal.
In 1995, about 25,000 cases were detected, while in 2019, fewer than 1,000 cases were found.