Animal and human trypanosomiasis are constraints to both animal and human health in Sub-Saharan Africa, but there is little recent evidence as to how these parasites circulate in natural hosts in natural ecosystems. A cross-sectional survey of trypanosome prevalence in 418 wildlife hosts was conducted in the Luangwa Valley, Zambia, from 2005 to 2007. The overall prevalence in all species was 13.9%. Infection was significantly more likely to be detected in waterbuck, lion, greater kudu and bushbuck, with a clear pattern apparent of the most important hosts for each trypanosome species. Human infective Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense parasites were identified for the first time in African buffalo and T. brucei s.l. in leopard. Variation in infection is demonstrated at species level rather than at family or sub-family level. A number of significant risk factors are shown to interact to influence infection rates in wildlife including taxonomy, habitat and blood meal preference. Trypanosoma parasites circulate within a wide and diverse host community in this bio-diverse ecosystem. Consistent land use patterns over the last century have resulted in epidemiological stability, but this may be threatened by the recent influx of people and domesticated livestock into the mid-Luangwa Valley.
Anderson, N.E.; Mubanga, J.; Fevre, E.M.; Picozzi, K.; Eisler, M.C.; Thomas, R.; Welburn, S.C. Characterisation of the Wildlife Reservoir Community for Human and Animal Trypanosomiasis in the Luangwa Valley, Zambia. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases (2011) 5 (6) e1211. [DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0001211]