Tsetse Fly and Sleeping sickness, is it a concern while on Safari in South Africa?
Sleeping Sickness or Nagana in animals is not a concern while on Safari in South Africa!
Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve for example eradicated the disease in the 1960’s and it has yet to return, so if you join Tim Brown Tours on a Hluhluwe safari you will have no problems!
African trypanosomiasis (Sleeping Sickness) is a systemic disease caused by a parasite that is transmitted to humans by the bite of the Tsetse Fly. Please note that Tsetse Fly is NOT the same as Mosquitoes that give you Malaria.
Tsetse flies inhabit rural areas only, living in the woodland and thickets of the Savannah and the dense vegetation along streams. Watch out for them if you are on safari.
Since Tsetse flies are only found in rural areas, you can stick to the urban areas of tropical Africa, but that would hardly comprise a good holiday! Insect repellent and light clothing won’t help since the Tsetse fly, will bite through everything. Local people will know where the Tsetse flies are likely to be, so ask them and avoid those areas. Tsetse flies are attracted to dark colors and cars. Before you get in to your vehicle, swat the large flies.
Signs and symptoms are initially nonspecific (fever, skin lesions, rash, edema, or lymphadenopathy); however, the infection progresses to meningoencephalitis. Symptoms generally appear within 1 to 3 weeks of infection. East African trypanosomiasis is more acute clinically, with earlier central nervous system involvement than in the West African form of the disease. Untreated cases are eventually fatal.
Travelers who sustain tsetse fly bites and become ill with high fever or other manifestations of African trypanosomiasis should be advised to seek early medical attention. The infection can usually be cured by an appropriate course of anti-trypanosomal therapy. Travelers should be advised to consult an infectious disease or tropical medicine specialist.