Wally Gobetz/Flickr

给吸血鬼测序

纽黑文—非洲锥虫病(human African trypanosomiasis,HAT,又名昏睡病)长期以来让非洲撒哈拉以南农村人口饱受折磨。该病的治疗很复杂,需要高水平医务人员,而在受影响地区很难找到。携带感染源的寄生虫——中部和西部非洲的布氏冈比亚锥虫以及东部非洲的布氏罗德西亚锥虫——通过采采蝇叮咬传播这种疾病。

二十世纪初,昏睡病疫情导致非洲许多地方人口大量下降。尽管自20世纪30年代以来,对数百万人的系统性监测和治疗极大地减少了该病的传播,但20世纪五六十年代稍稍放松紧惕便又使昏睡病死灰复燃,在20世纪90年代初到达流行病水平。2008年,世界卫生组织终于控制了这种疾病,每年的患病人数下降至10,000人。但仍有数百万人生活在危险之中。

显然,采采蝇对最贫穷或最难以获得治疗的地区造成了严重威胁。并且受到威胁的不仅是人类。韦氏刚果锥虫和布氏刚果锥虫能导致非洲动物锥虫病(那加那病)——并且都是由采采蝇传播。

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