African trypanosomiasis epidemiology and demographics

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-In-Chief: Pilar Almonacid, Aditya Ganti M.B.B.S. [2]


Currently, it is estimated that the annual prevalence of African trypanosomiasis is less than 20,000. In 2014, 3,796 sleeping sickness cases were reported to the World Health Organization and Trypanosoma brucei gambiense accounted for > 98% of cases. There is no predilection for a specific age group for African trypanosomiasis.


Incidence and prevalence





  • Given the endemicity of the disease in South America, the majority of individuals with African trypanosomiasis are of Hispanic origin.
  • However, there is no evidence to demonstrate that there is any racial predilection to the acquisition of the infection.

Geographic distribution

  • African trypanosomiasis is endemic to rural sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense is found in eastern and southeastern Africa, mainly Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
  • Trypanosoma brucei gambiense is found in central Africa and in limited areas of West Africa, primarily in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, Angola, South Sudan, Guinea, Cameroon, Gabon, Côte d’Ivoire, Congo, Chad, and northern Uganda.


  1. Fèvre EM, Picozzi K, Jannin J, Welburn SC, Maudlin I (2006). "Human African trypanosomiasis: Epidemiology and control". Adv. Parasitol. 61: 167–221. doi:10.1016/S0065-308X(05)61005-6. PMID 16735165.
  2. Franco JR, Simarro PP, Diarra A, Jannin JG (2014). "Epidemiology of human African trypanosomiasis". Clin Epidemiol. 6: 257–75. doi:10.2147/CLEP.S39728. PMC 4130665. PMID 25125985.
  3. "Trypanosomiasis, African (Sleeping Sickness) - Chapter 3 - 2018 Yellow Book | Travelers' Health | CDC".
  4. "WHO | The current situation".