Vectors of Gambian HAT

With support from the BMGF, we have developed a more cost-effective method of controlling the vectors of T. brucei gambiense, the pathogen of Gambian HAT.  Analysis of the visual and odour cues that they use to find their hosts resulted in the so-called ‘Tiny Target’: a small blue-coloured panel of cloth that simulates a host.  The targets are impregnated with insecticide and attracted tsetse than contact the target are killed.  Tiny Targets are now being used in large-scale programmes to control sleeping sickness in Uganda, Chad, Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire and the Democratic Republic of Congo.  Results from these control programmes are showing that the addition of vector control to ‘screen-and-treat’ is allowing countries to reach the elimination goal.  Our current research activities include analysis of the cost, acceptability and impact of vector control on transmission of HAT; development of models to predict the likely impact of various control strategies and; field-based studies of the biology of tsetse and trypanosomes in the Gambian HAT foci of Uganda, Guinea and DRC.

Our academic partners include WIDER at the University of Warwick (Matt Keeling, Kat Rock), IRD (Philippe Solano, Fabrice Courtin), Institute for Tropical Medicine, Antwep (Epco Hasker, Marleen Boelaart) and national institutions concerned with control of HAT in Chad, DRC, Guinea, Ivory Coast and Uganda.

Relevant grants
PI, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, 2015-2018; Targeting tsetse: a demonstration project; $4,999,516.
Co-PI, Cargill Foundation, 2105-17. Integrated HAT control, a model district in DR Congo; LSTM grant $589,950. PI: Prof. Epco Hasker, ITM, Antwerp
Co-PI, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, 2015-2018. Alternative screening and case finding methodology for HAT and introduction support for new diagnostic tools; LSTM grant $1,950,821. PI: Prof. Marleen Boelaart, ITM, Antwerp

Recent relevant papers
Tirados I, Esterhuizen J, Kovacic V, Mangwiro TNC, Vale GA, et al. (2015) Tsetse Control and Gambian Sleeping Sickness; Implications for Control Strategy. Plos Neglected Tropical Diseases 9: e0003822.
Shaw APM, Tirados I, Mangwiro CTN, Esterhuizen J, Lehane MJ, et al. (2015) Costs Of Using "Tiny Targets" to Control Glossina fuscipes fuscipes, a Vector of Gambiense Sleeping Sickness in Arua District of Uganda. Plos Neglected Tropical Diseases 9: e0003624.
Courtin F, Camara M, Rayaisse J-B, Kagbadouno M, Dama E, et al. (2015) Reducing Human-Tsetse Contact Significantly Enhances the Efficacy of Sleeping Sickness Active Screening Campaigns: A Promising Result in the Context of Elimination Plos Neglected Tropical Diseases 9: e0003727.
Vale GA, Hargrove JW, Lehane MJ, Solano P, Torr SJ. (2015) Optimal Strategies for Controlling Riverine Tsetse Flies Using Targets: A Modelling Study. Plos Neglected Tropical Diseases.;9: e0003615
Rock, K. S., Torr, S. J., Lumbala, C., & Keeling, M. J. (2015). Quantitative evaluation of the strategy to eliminate human African trypanosomiasis in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Parasites & vectors, 8(1), 1-