Programme Against African Trypanosomosis (PAAT)

The continental Atlas of tsetse and African animal trypanosomosis in Nigeria



Tsetse-transmitted trypanosomosis remains a major animal health problem in Nigeria, in a context where changes in land cover, climate and control interventions are modifying its epidemiological patterns. Evidence-based decision making for the progressive control of the disease requires spatially-explicit information on its occurrence and prevalence, as well as on the distribution and abundance of the tsetse vector.

In the framework of the continental Atlas of tsetse and African animal trypanosomosis (AAT), a geo-referenced database was assembled for Nigeria, based on the systematic review of 133 scientific publications (period January 1990 - March 2019).

The three main species of trypanosomes responsible for the disease (i.e. Trypanosoma vivax, T. congolense and T. brucei) were found to be widespread, thus posing a national-level problem. Their geographic distribution extends beyond the tsetse-infested belt, owing to the combined effect of animal movement and mechanical transmission by non-tsetse vectors. T. simiae, the major trypanosomal pathogen in pigs, T. godfreyi and the human-infective T. brucei gambiense were also reported. AAT was reported in a number of susceptible host species, including cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, camels, horses, donkeys and dogs, while no study on wildlife was identified. Estimates of prevalence are heavily influenced by the sensitivity of the diagnostic techniques, ranging from an average of 3.5% for blood films to 31.0% for molecular techniques.

Two riverine tsetse species (i.e. Glossina palpalis palpalis and G. tachinoides) were found to have the broadest geographical range, as they were detected in all six geopolitical zones of Nigeria. By contrast, the distribution of savannah species (i.e. G. morsitans submorsitans and G. longipalpis) appears to be highly fragmented, and limited to protected areas. Very little information is available for forest species, with one single paper reporting on G. fusca congolensis and G. nigrofusca nigrofusca in the Niger Delta region.

The future development of a national Atlas of tsetse and AAT, relying on both published and unpublished information, could improve on the present review and provide further epidemiological evidence for decision making.

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