To better understand the epidemiology of sleeping sickness in the Central African sub-region, notably the heterogeneity of Human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT) foci, the mobile genetic element PCR (MGE-PCR) technique was used to genotype Trypanosoma brucei s.l. (T. brucei s.l.) isolates from this sub-region. Using a single primer REV B, which detects positional variation of the mobile genetic element RIME, via amplification of flanking regions, MGE-PCR revealed a micro genetic variability between Trypanosoma brucei gambiense (T. b. gambiense) isolates from Central Africa. The technique also revealed the presence of several T. b. gambiense genotypes and allowed the identification of minor and major ubiquitous genotypes in HAT foci. The presence of several T. b. gambiense genotypes in HAT foci may explain the persistence and the resurgence phenomena of the disease and also the epidemic and the endemic status of some Central African sleeping sickness foci. The MGE-PCR technique represents a simple, rapid, and specific method to differentiate Central African T. brucei s.l. isolates.
Experimental Parasitology (2005) 110 (4) 353-362 [doi:10.1016/j.exppara.2005.04.001]