Spatial predictions of Rhodesian Human African Trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) prevalence in Kaberamaido and Dokolo, two newly affected districts of Uganda.
Batchelor NA., Atkinson PM., Gething PW., Picozzi K., Fèvre EM., Kakembo ASL., Welburn SC.
The continued northwards spread of Rhodesian sleeping sickness or Human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT) within Uganda is raising concerns of overlap with the Gambian form of the disease. Disease convergence would result in compromised diagnosis and treatment for HAT. Spatial determinants for HAT are poorly understood across small areas. This study examines the relationships between Rhodesian HAT and several environmental, climatic and social factors in two newly affected districts, Kaberamaido and Dokolo. A one-step logistic regression analysis of HAT prevalence and a two-step logistic regression method permitted separate analysis of both HAT occurrence and HAT prevalence. Both the occurrence and prevalence of HAT were negatively correlated with distance to the closest livestock market in all models. The significance of distance to the closest livestock market strongly indicates that HAT may have been introduced to this previously unaffected area via the movement of infected, untreated livestock from endemic areas. This illustrates the importance of the animal reservoir in disease transmission, and highlights the need for trypanosomiasis control in livestock and the stringent implementation of regulations requiring the treatment of cattle prior to sale at livestock markets to prevent any further spread of Rhodesian HAT within Uganda.