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Sleeping Sickness and Big Game

Nature volume 101, page 155 (25 April 1918) | Download Citation



WE have received (the rep6rt of the Sleeping Sickness Commission of the Royal Society, No. xvi. (pp. 221 + 17 plates + 3 maps), which bears date 1915, but has only just been distributed. This volume, most of the papers in which have been already published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, gives an account of the investigations carried on by the commission, under the direction of Sir David Bruce, in Nyasaland in 1912–14. The most important conclusion of the commission was that Trypanosoma brucei, the cause of nagana in Zululand and other parts of Africa, is identical with T. rhodesiense, the trypanosome causing sleeping sickness in man in Nyasaland and Rhodesia. On account of the marked infectivity of the game in the fly-country—“and this Tact stands out most prominently and without any shadow of doubt”—it is recommended that efforts should be made to diminish the number of wild animals in fly-areas, e.g. by removing all restrictions regarding the pursuit and killing of the game. Removal of infected natives, though they are apparently few and far between, to fly-free areas, and the clearing of the forest around villages so as to keep the fly away, are also useful measures, and the suggestion is made that for purposes of administration it would be well to gather the natives together in fairly large villages. Direct measures for the destruction of the fly are not considered to offer any chance of success, but “when the country becomes opened up, cleared, and settled, the big game will disappear and the tsetse with them.”

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