The tsetse transmitted parasites, Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense and Trypanosoma brucei gambiense, cause the fatal disease human African trypanosomiasis (HAT); the clinical progression, as well as the preferred diagnostic and treatment methods differ between the two types. Currently, the two do not overlap, although recent spread of Rhodesian HAT in Uganda has raised concerns over a potential future overlap. A recent study using geo-referenced HAT case records suggested that the most recent spread of Rhodesian HAT may have been due to movements of infected, untreated livestock (the main reservoir of the parasite). Here, the initial analysis has been extended by explicitly accounting for spatial locations and their proximity to one another, providing improved accuracy. The results provide strengthened evidence of the significance of livestock movements for the continued spread of Rhodesian HAT within Uganda, despite the introduction of cattle treatment regulations which were implemented in an effort to curb the disease's spread. The application of predictive mapping indicates an increased risk of HAT in areas surrounding livestock markets, demonstrating the importance of livestock trading for continuing disease spread. This robust evidence can be used for the targeting of disease control efforts within Uganda to prevent further spread of Rhodesian HAT.
Wardrop, N.A.; Atkinson, P.M.; Gething, P.W.; Fevre, E.M.; Picozzi, K.; Kakembo, A.S.L.; Welburn, S.C. Bayesian Geostatistical Analysis and Prediction of Rhodesian Human African Trypanosomiasis. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases (2010) 4 (12) e914. [DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0000914]