Human African trypanosomiasis is a life-threatening parasitic infection transmitted by the tsetse fly in sub-Saharan Africa. The most common form is caused by Trypanosoma brucei gambiense, with humans as the main reservoir. Diagnosis in the field requires microscopic examination performed by specifically trained personnel. After over two decades of sustained efforts, the incidence of the disease is strongly declining, and some historically endemic countries are no longer detecting cases. The World Health Organization (WHO) has targeted the elimination of transmission of gambiense human African trypanosomiasis by 2030, defined as zero autochthonous cases for at least five consecutive years. Endemic countries reaching this goal must maintain dedicated surveillance to detect re-emergence or re-introduction. With this new agenda, new tools are needed for verification of the absence of transmission. WHO has therefore developed a target product profile calling for development of a method for population-level cross-cutting surveillance of T. b. gambiense transmission. The method needs to be performed in national or sub-national reference laboratories, and to test in parallel numerous samples shipped from remote rural areas. Among other characteristics the product profile specifies: (i) a simple specimen collection procedure; (ii) no cold-chain requirement to transfer specimens to reference laboratories; (iii) high sensitivity and specificity; (iv) high-throughput, substantially automatized; (v) low cost per specimen, when analysed in large batches; and (vi) applicable also in animals.
- Trypanosoma brucei gambiense
- Trypanosomiasis, African/diagnosis
- Tsetse Flies/parasitology
- Africa South of the Sahara