Segments in this Video

Sleeping Sickness (04:31)


In The Democratic Republic of Congo, Trypanosomiasis has reemerged; Dr. Simon Van Nieuwenhove explains the symptoms of the illness include mental troubles, loss of motor function, and increased aggressive behavior.

History of Sleeping Sickness (04:19)

Sleeping sickness is spread by the tsetse fly and travels through the human bloodstream rapidly; many people are infected with Trypanosomiasis without knowing it due to a lack of symptoms. Before independence, Great Britain funded health initiatives to control the spread of the disease.

Reducing the Transmissions With Screenings (05:20)

Matulu Nakosa, with the Congo National Sleeping Sickness Control Program, demonstrates a mass health screening; Nieuwenhove explains the problems with the old, toxic medications. Nakosa inserts a needle into a young woman’s spinal cord, and she tests positive for sleeping sickness.

Combining Medical Treatments (04:01)

While dangerous, melarsoprol is still administered to most patients, but in parts of Africa the drug is becoming less effective, causing some patients to relapse. New sleeping sickness treatments include eflornithine and nifurtimox, but both are still in medical trials.

Sleeping Sickness's Future (03:53)

Cecile Schmid has found treatments for sleeping sickness may be more effective, and less toxic, if administered together; clinical trials are underway for this new medical procedure. The World Health Organization’s supply of melarsoprol was fully funded for five years, but Nieuwenhove wants to convince drug companies to lengthen their commitment.

Credits: The Deadly Sleep (00:16)

Credits: The Deadly Sleep

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The Deadly Sleep

Part of the Series : Kill or Cure, Series 4
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $129.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $194.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $129.95



Sleeping sickness is one of the most deadly of the forgotten diseases. Experts thought it had been destroyed decades ago. But it’s back with a vengeance, and as we see in this documentary, mobile field teams are out in the African bush carrying out blood tests and lumbar punctures to beat the disease. Even so, for many of its victims, the drugs used to treat the disease are fatal in up to 10 percent of cases.

Length: 24 minutes

Item#: BVL144776

Copyright date: ©2008

Closed Captioned

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