This is the VOA Special English Development Report.
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World Health Organization is using a new combination of drugs to treat human
African trypanosomiasis disease, also known as sleeping sickness. The drugs nifurtimox and eflornithine will be given
out in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Officials from the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative
say the new treatment has fewer side effects.
It is also more effective and less costly than the drugs traditionally
used. In addition, the new treatment
reduces the number of injections needed. And it shortens the amount of time
patients must spend in the hospital.
Sleeping sickness threatens millions of
people in thirty-six countries in Africa.
Most live in poor rural areas. The disease is caused by the trypanosoma
parasite. It is spread to humans through
the bite of infected tsetse flies.
Common signs of sleeping sickness include fever, headaches,
extreme tiredness and pain in the muscles and joints. Early identification of
the disease may be difficult because many infected people do not show any
time, the parasites invade the central nervous system. The disease causes sleep
disorders, mental confusion, personality changes, speech problems, seizures and
coma. If left untreated, sleeping sickness kills.
The World Health Organization estimates that about
sixty thousand people are currently infected with the disease. It develops in two
different forms. Trypanosoma gambiense is responsible for ninety percent of the
reported cases of sleeping sickness. People infected with this form may develop
the disease over many years without any major symptoms. The disease develops
more quickly over a few weeks or months in people infected with trypanosoma
Until now the drug melarsoprol was used to treat
patients in the advanced stage of sleeping sickness.
the drug requires many painful injections several times a day for several
weeks. It also causes bad side effects, some of which can be deadly.
Uganda, a new study has confirmed earlier research linking the spread of sleeping
sickness to infected farm animals. The writers
of the study have called for stronger rules requiring cattle to be treated
before being sold at market. The study was
published in the Public Library of Science.
that's the VOA Special English Development Report, written by June Simms. I'm Steve