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April 30th 2009

 

    The first Europeans in the country that is now Uganda were looking for the source of the River Nile.  

    South and East of the River Nile's most distant stream lay the Kingdom of Busago.  The Kingdom was reported to have been rich with people and farms.  Thirty years later the population was decimated by sleeping sickness.  The estimate is that a quarter of a million people disappeared.

    A tsetse fly bites like a horse fly.  It hurts.  In some places there are tsetse fly, but no sleeping sickness.  In some places there are no tsetse fly to be found at all.    

 

    Sleeping sickness has two phases.  The first is often mistaken for HIV.  The second phase attacks the nervous system.  It takes about six months to die.

    In the 1960's the battle with tsetse fly was nearly won, but greed and politics and war and ambitious generals have given the tsetse fly back to the people of Uganda.

 

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(sleeping sickness)  (Time Magazine 1928)  (tsetse traps)