The little pigs and the big bad trypanosome
1 / 14

The little pigs and the big bad trypanosome - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

  • Uploaded on
  • Presentation posted in: General

The little pigs and the big bad trypanosome. Lucas J Cunningham. African Trypanosomiasis ( Sleeping Sickness). Neglected Tropical Diseases, fatal if untreated 66 million people at risk in 36 African countries Single cell parasites called trypanosomes

I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.

Download Presentation

The little pigs and the big bad trypanosome

An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Presentation Transcript

The little pigs and the big bad trypanosome

Lucas J Cunningham

African Trypanosomiasis(Sleeping Sickness)

  • Neglected Tropical Diseases, fatal if untreated

  • 66 million people at risk in 36 African countries

  • Single cell parasites called trypanosomes

  • Transmitted by the bite of a tsetse fly

  • Causes serious disease in animals

  • Animal African Trypanosomiasis is responsible for a loss of U.S. $4.5 billion per year across sub Saharan Africa

Importance of Human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT)

Elimination 2020

African Trypanosomiasis

  • There are three species in the brucei group

  • Trypanosomabruceigambiense

  • Trypanosomabruceirhodesiense

  • Trypanosomabruceibrucei


Gambiense (chronic) sleeping sickness

Rhodesiense (acute) sleeping sickness


Can animals be a reservoir for gambiense?

  • Past experiments have shown that pigs can be readily infected with gambiense sleeping sickness

  • Recently more importance has been placed on the possibility of animal reservoirs influencing the transmission of the disease

South Sudan

Pig Sampling in Uganda



Gambiense sleeping sickness


Rhodesiense sleeping sickness

Pig sampling method

Analysis of pig blood for trypanosomes

General test for species of interest

Specific tests for species


Targets an area of DNA with 1 copy per parasite

  • Highly sensitive

  • Targets an area of DNA with 10,000 copies per parasite


  • 766 pigs were screened with the general test

3.26% infection of T. bruceisl overall

25 out of 400 were infected, 6.25% in Arua









Do we have the big bad trypanosome?

  • 25 positive samples re-screened for gambiense infections

  • So far none of the pigs appear to be positive for the big bad trypanosome, this could be good news for the farmers

  • But…

  • Not all the tests have been finished, issue with sensitivity, plus the pigs still have animal trypanosomiasis


  • 25 out of 766 pigs positive for trypanosomes of interest

  • 20 out of 25 cases came from just two sample sites

  • The issue with the sensitivity needs to be ruled out

  • Secondary tests will need to follow to determine exact species present

  • Why is Arua a hot spot and why isn’t Moyo?

  • Is the big bad trypanosome still at large, not yet concluded

Thanks to:

  • Stephen Torr (LSTM and Warwick NTD)

  • Jessica Lingley (LSTM, Vector Group)

  • Ugandan field technicians

  • Ugandan vets

  • Ugandan farmers

  • Lee Haines (LSTM, Vector Group)

  • Johan Esterhuizen (LSTM, Vector Group)

  • InakiTirados (LSTM, NTD)

  • Hannah Betts (LSTM, Vector Group)

  • Liam Morrison (Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh)

Impact of finding gambiense in pigs

  • Target and screen animals- requires more accurate field diagnostics

  • Identifying areas of transmission- disease is very focal, mass screening of the flies for the parasite maybe in conjunction with human and animal screening

  • Integration of controls- will probably require a number of control strategies to eliminate the disease

  • Disease eradication challenging

  • Login