WHO validates Cote d’Ivoire for eliminating human African trypanosomiasis

30 March 2021

Article: 55/1305

The World Health Organization (WHO) has validated Côte d'Ivoire as successfully eliminating human African trypanosomiasis, also known as sleeping sickness, as a public health problem, becoming the second African country after Togo to do so.

In the 1990s, Côte d'Ivoire reported hundreds of cases of sleeping sickness every year. Cases have progressively declined over the last two decades, and in the past few years, the country has reported fewer than ten cases per year. At this low level, Côte d'Ivoire qualifies as having eliminated the disease as a public health problem. Treatment of infected people meant that the vector, the tsetse fly, could no longer transmit the disease to others. This had to be maintained over years in order to progressively eliminate the disease.

Sleeping sickness is a potentially fatal disease spread by the bite of an infected tsetse fly, a species native to the African continent. More than 60 million people living mainly in rural parts of 36 countries across East, Central and West Africa are at risk of contracting the disease.

Source: WHO, 25 March 2021