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Sleeping sickness and tsetse flies

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Although this blog focus mostly on bacteria, I do occasionally dip out of my comfort zone into other infectious elements such as viruses, prions and fungi. One topic that I haven’t covered nearly enough is the protozoan pathogens; the unicellular organisms that are not bacterial, but are responsible for some of the deadliest diseases in the world including malaria, sleeping sickness and toxoplasmosis.

Although some of these protozoa can be taken up directly through contact with fecal matter or infected water, many of them rely on animal vectors for part of their life-cycle. As a result, the study and control of these vectors plays a major part in the fight against the disease. Recently, PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases put together a whole collection of articles and editorials about the Tsetse fly: the vector for the protozoa that causes sleeping sickness.

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