John Libbey Eurotext

Cahiers d'études et de recherches francophones / Santé


Epidemiological, clinical and sociodemographic characteristics of human African trypanosomiasis (HAT) in and around Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo Volume 19, issue 2, avril-mai-juin 2009


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Laboratoire de microbiologie médicale Université de Liège CHU Sart-Tilman (B23) 4000 Liège Belgique, Département de santé publique, épidémiologie et biostatistique Faculté de médecine, Université catholiqueNotre Dame du Kasaï Kananga Kasaï-Occidental République démocratique du Congo (RDC), Unité d’enseignement et de recherche en santé publique, épidémiologie et biostatistique Sciences infirmières Institut supérieur des techniques médicales de Kinshasa Kinshasa République démocratique du Congo, Centre neuropsychopathologique de Kinshasa Université de Kinshasa Kinshasa République démocratique du Congo, Programme national de lutte contre la trypanosomiase humaine africaine République démocratique du Congo
  • Key words: characteristics, clinical, epidemiology, case-control study, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, human african trypanosomiasis, urbanisation
  • DOI : 10.1684/san.2009.0154
  • Page(s) : 73-80
  • Published in: 2009

BackgroundDespite efforts to control human African trypanosomiasis (HAT) in the field, this infection remains prevalent in endemic or epidemic form in most of its traditional habitats. In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), HAT has extended beyond rural areas to reach large cities such as Kinshasa. The objective of this study was to analyse the characteristics of trypanosomiasis patients (cases) in Kinshasa and to compare them to those of healthy controls.Methods and population of studyThis case-control study allowed us to compare case patients and controls for some epidemiologic, clinical and sociodemographic characteristics. In all, 1764 people (588 case-patients and 1176 controls) were interviewed according to a structured questionnaire. Case-patients were infected with trypanosomiasis and entered the National Human African Trypanosomiasis Program (PNLTHA-DRC) from January 2004 through December 2005. Controls were matched for sex, age and residence to the corresponding case-patient, but had negative results from the Card Agglutination Trypanosomiasis Test (CATT-Test) whole-blood serologic analysis. Each patient was matched with two controls.ResultsCases were identified in all 24 districts of Kinshasa, but were concentrated in the outskirts (outlying areas and southern expansion) and in rural areas. Overall, 25% (144/588) of case-patients lived in urbanised areas. People in the labour market (aged 20-49 years) were affected more often than others. HAT affected men and women equally. It also affected at higher rates people who moved around a lot and those who worked in rural or domestic activities, especially those in close contact with watercourses. Sleep disorders were the primary clinical sign (85%). Cervical adenopathies were observed frequently (66%). Fever was reported in 68% of case-patients. Most (73.5%) were diagnosed at a very advanced stage of infection (meningoencephalitic or neurological stage).ConclusionThese results highlight several modifiable or avoidable characteristics associated with HAT. Interventions on them might make it possible to reduce the morbidity and mortality rates associated with HAT and prevent wider extension of this disease.