Sleeping Sickness



Description Sleeping Sickness


In the twenty-first century sleeping sickness (African trypanosomiasis in humans) is still a life-threatening disease of adults and children and a hazard to tourists in East African game parks.The protozoan parasite is transmitted by the tsetse fly, a buzzing insect with reddish eyes and a large biting proboscis. In 1912, when this short monograph was written, physicians of the British Empire understood that trans-continental expeditions manned by infected African porters, had set off an epidemic of sleeping sickness that had claimed half a million lives. Dr. Sandwith, an eyewitness to the disaster, traces this legacy of imperialism, from the traders who learned to reject slaves with swollen glands, through Stanley's trypanosome-transporting treks in search of Dr. Livingstone and of Emin Pasha, to the clinical description of the tremulous patient, his head aching and his body painfully sensitive to touch, whose sufferings are at last ended by a stupor from which he cannot be roused. (Pamela Nagami, M.D.)

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