Can I take a medication to prevent African trypanosomiasis?
There is neither a vaccine nor recommended drug available to prevent East or
West African trypanosomiasis.
How can I prevent African trypanosomiasis and prevent other insect bites?
- Wear protective clothing, including long-sleeved shirts and pants. The
tsetse fly can bite through thin fabrics, so clothing should be made of thick
- Wear khaki or olive colored clothing. The tsetse fly is attracted to bright
colors and very dark colors.
- Use insect repellant. Though insect repellants have not proven effective in
preventing tsetse fly bites, they are effective in preventing other insects
from biting and causing illness.
- Use bed netting when sleeping.
- Inspect vehicles for tsetse flies before entering.
- Do not ride in the back of jeeps, pickup trucks or other open vehicles. The
tsetse fly is attracted to the dust that moving vehicles and wild animals
- Avoid bushes. The tsetse fly is less active during the hottest period of
the day. It rests in bushes but will bite if disturbed.
For more information:
- McGovern TW, William W, Fitzpatrick JE, et al. Cutaneous manifestations of
African trypanosomiasis. Arch Dermatol 1995;131:1178-82.
- Bryan R, Waskin J, Richards F, et al. African trypanosomiasis in American
travelers: a 20-year review. Travel Medicine. Steffen R, Lobel HO, Haworth J,
Bradley DJ, eds. Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 1989:384-8.
See also American trypanosomiasis (also known as chagas disease).
This fact sheet is for information only and is not meant to be used for
self-diagnosis or as a substitute for consultation with a health care provider.
If you have any questions about the disease described above or think that you
may have a parasitic infection, consult a health care provider.