August 1, 1997
Untreated, sleeping sickness inevitably kills after inflicting horrible pain and sometimes insanity. Spread by tsetse flies, this dreaded tropical disease claims more than 55,000 lives per year in 36 African nations. Our volunteers refuse to let this disease continue to kill in silence.
Profile of a Killer
African Trypanosomiasis, or sleeping sickness, is an extremely painful and debilitating disease. Left untreated, it always kills its victims. It is caused by two different types of parasitic protozoans, Trypansooma gambiense and Trypanosoma rhodesiense, transmitted by infected tsetse flies.
Angola: The choice to die or undergo painful treatment
MSF volunteer Rebecca Golden recently returned from Angola, where a desperate battle against sleeping sickness is being waged after years of war have wrecked that nation's health care system. Says Golden, "There are many instances of my mission that I will remember, but one in particular was visiting the town of N'Dalatando in Angola's northern province, Kwanza Norte, where our teams are working with victims of sleeping sickness," says Rebecca. "I visited the hospital, where the only treatment available is administered by MSF.
© 2013 Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)