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The burden of rodent-borne diseases in Africa south of the Sahara


, : The burden of rodent-borne diseases in Africa south of the Sahara. Belgian Journal of Zoology 127(SUPPL ): 71-84, Oct

There are many vector-borne diseases in Africa which cause a heavy toll in human morbidity, mortality, economic loss and suffering. Plague remains endemic in several countries in Africa; 1,269 cases of plague were reported in Africa in 1994 and these represent 43.2% of the 2,935 human cases of plague from all the world and 50% of the mortality. The 6 countries which have reported human cases of the disease as recently as 1994 are Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zaire and Zimbabwe. Natural foci of the infection remain in others. However, in addition to plague, other infections and human diseases with rodent reservoirs account for a great deal of morbidity and mortality in Africa though little actual data are available on the number of cases. The rodent-borne infections include the virus diseases Lassa fever, Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever, and, possibly, Rift Valley fever. Bacterial infections include brucellosis, leptospirosis, plague, rat-bite fever, tick-borne relapsing fever and tularemia. Rickettsial infections are common and include murine typhus, tick typhus, Q-fever. There are also several helminthic infections which may be passed from rodents to man and the most important of these is schistosomiasis. One must take into account the fact that serious rodent depredations on man's foodstuffs can also lead to malnutrition.

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