Thursday, July 06, 2006

Sleeping with a Sickness

Can sleeping ever be a problem, may be too much or too little of sleep could cause problems, but there is another kind of sleep that is a dangerous disease! Yes its a disease called SLEEPING SICKNESS which is very prevalent in Africa.The disease is so prevalent there that, its called an endemic disease in these regions.

Today by chance I watched a show on BBC about this disease.African trypanosomiasis, as its also called,is a parasitic disease in people and in animals.Its caused by protozoa of genus Trypanosoma and transmitted by the tsetse fly.People in over 36 countries making up 60 million people are infected by this disease. It is estimated that 300,000 - 500,000 people are infected, and about 40,000 die every year. Three major epidemics have occurred in the past hundred years, in 1896 - 1906, 1920, and 1970.The problem with this disease is that, the disease is only spread by mosquitoes but, it needs an infected person first to get mosquito infected. Thus the irradication of the disease amongst the humans takes center stage rather than irradicating the mosquitoes that act as vectors carrying the parasite around.

The show went on to elaborate on the steps taken by WHO to help people in the interiors of Africa especially those settled close to the Congo river.WHO is providing medicines free of cost to help combat the deadly disease.But the medicines provided by them are typically as old as 30 years in formula and hence they fear the resistance of the parasite to the medicine, thus making it an incurable disease.

The disease by itself is very deady because it affects the brain, the center of all bodily activity.It causes the person to fall asleep at short intervals followed by extremely active or a simple wakeful state. Depending on the degree of the disease,a person could suffer various problems.It was a pathetic sight to see those people suffering from the disease in the UN run hospitals in Africa.

What I felt very bad is that even though we humans have come a long way in technology, the progress in the field of medicine to save life has been too small..or has slowed down drastically. We still stick on penicillin, which was discovered way back in the past!! I wouldn't say people are not doing anything but,I just feel technology is making us blind to real needs.

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Bharathi said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bharathi said...

This is really an informative one.

nabeel said...

hi aparna,

yes indeed technologically we(humans) are really strong but when it comes to medicine(basic), we are still wearing snail shoes.

Ramya said...

good post de,but u dint tell the effects or symptoms of the disease.