John M. MacKenzie
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Experts and amateurs
Tsetse, nagana and sleeping sickness in East and Central Africa
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There is abundant evidence to suggest that the tsetse fly had conditioned the patterns of human settlement and cattle keeping throughout eastern and Central Africa for many centuries. African understanding of the tsetse and its relationship to nagana makes an excellent starting point, for Europeans learned a great deal, more than they sometimes liked to admit, from African knowledge. The British army surgeon, David Bruce, working in Natal in 1894, established that nagana was caused by a trypanosome transmitted to cattle by tsetse. The incidence and distribution of human trypanosomiasis are more obscure. In one well-known medieval reference, Ibn Khaldun seems to describe the symptoms of sleeping sickness in his account of the death of a king of Mali in the fourteenth century. In early 1960s, several other tropical diseases had been mastered much more comprehensively.

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