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死に至る睡眠病?!アフリカ睡眠病について理解して危険を避けよう

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「死に至る睡眠病ってなに?」「アフリカ睡眠病ってどういうものなの?」あなたはこのような疑問をお持ちではないでしょうか?

アフリカ大陸のツェツェベルト地帯には、ツェツェバエというハエが生息しています。アフリカ睡眠病とは、このツェツェバエを媒介としているトリパノソーマと呼ばれる寄生性原虫によって引き起こされる症状で、治療せずに放置しておくと死に至る病のことです。

アフリカ睡眠病による死の危険を避けるためには、この病気に対してしっかりとした知識をもっておくことが大切になります。

本記事では、アフリカ睡眠病について理解し、危険を避けるための情報について紹介していきます。是非参考にして頂き、特にアフリカに渡航予定のある方は十分に注意するようにして下さい。

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1.アフリカ睡眠病(アフリカトリパノソーマ症)について理解して危険を避ける

アフリカ睡眠病の危険を避けるためには、アフリカ睡眠病に対して十分な知識を持ち、近寄らないことが最も大切なことです。
アフリカ睡眠病は治療せずにいると死に至り、また安全な治療方法も現在はありません。そのため、知識を十分に持ち、遭遇しないように避けることがとても重要なのです。

アフリカ睡眠病の理解にあたっては、次の7項目をご紹介していきます。

  • 概略
  • 流行地
  • 感染経路
  • 潜伏期
  • 症状
  • 治療法
  • 予防・対策方法

では、以下の項目でそれぞれについて詳しく見ていきましょう。

1−1.アフリカ睡眠病とは

アフリカ睡眠病とは、アフリカ大陸のツェツェベルと地帯に分布するツェツェバエを媒介としているトリパノソーマと呼ばれる寄生性原虫によって引き起こされる症状で、治療せずに放置しておくと死に至る病のこと です。

年間4万人が死亡しており、6000万人が感染のリスクのある地域にいます。安全な治療方法が発見されていないため、ツェツェバエの生息地域には近づかないこと、刺されないように工夫をすることが唯一の対策方法です。

1−2.アフリカ睡眠病の流行地

アフリカ睡眠病には2種類のタイプがあり、それぞれに流行している地域があります。

一つは、 ガンビア型 と呼ばれるもので、流行地域は主に中央アフリカから西アフリカで、特に川の流域の近くに生息しています。

もう一つは ローデシア型 と呼ばれるもので、流行地域は主に東アフリカで、特にサバンナなどの森林に生息しています。

これらの2つのタイプの生息地が重なることはありませんが、ウガンダ共和国にのみ両方のタイプのアフリカ睡眠病が存在しています。

1−3.アフリカ睡眠病の感染経路

アフリカ睡眠病は、ツェツェバエに刺され吸血されることで感染に至ります。

ツェツェバエの大きさは5mm〜10mm程度であり、人獣構わず吸血することで栄養をとっています。特に暖かい日中に吸血することが多いと言われています。

また、例外的にも母子感染や輸血によって感染が起きる場合もあります。

感染から初期症状の発症までには、 1〜3週間ほどの期間 がかかると言われています。

また、ローデシア型に比べガンビア型の方が比較的進行が遅く、数ヶ月から1、2年程度症状が出ないという場合もあります。

1−5.アフリカ睡眠病の症状

初期症状 には、発熱や悪寒、頭痛、間接痛といった症状が見られ、また、特徴的な症状として、ウィンターボトム症候という首筋の裏側のリンパ節膨張が見られます。

初期症状を過ぎると、次に症状は 神経疾患 に移っていきます。まず精神不安定や錯乱などの精神障害が現れ、次に昼夜逆転の生活リズムとなり日中に過度の眠気が生じ、次第に朦朧とした状態になっていき、最後に昏睡状態に陥り、死に至ります。

治療を施さなかった場合、ローデシア型の場合は1〜3ヶ月で死に至り、ガンビア型の場合は数ヶ月から数年後に死に至ります。

また、治療を施した場合にも、神経疾患の症状が出ていた場合には、後遺症が残る場合があります。

1−6.アフリカ睡眠病の治療法

アフリカ睡眠病の治療は、 専門家による薬剤の投与 になります。

症状の段階を見極めることが非常に重要で、症状に合わせた薬剤を使用しています。しかし、現在治療に使用される薬剤の多くは毒性を持っており、安全性を確保することはできません。

また、初期症状において発見し治療できた場合には、その後も順調に回復する可能性が高いですが、上記でも記述したように神経疾患の症状が出ている場合には、後遺症が残る場合があります。

1−7.アフリカ睡眠病の予防・対策方法

アフリカ睡眠病の予防・対策方法にあたっては、ツェツェバエの生息地域に近づかないこと、該当地域に渡航する際には吸血されないように対策をすることです。

現在はワクチンがないため、刺されないようにすることが唯一の対策方法です。

ツェツェバエの生息地域に渡航する際には、手首や足首、首もとなどの隙間をしっかり隠すことのできる厚手の洋服を着用することが大切です。また、その地域の景色と同化して目立たない色の衣服にし、ディートと呼ばれる化学成分を含む防虫剤を衣服に塗布しておくことも必要です。

アフリカ睡眠病は、治療をしない場合100%死に至る怖い病気です。まずは、感染の可能性のある地域に不用心に行かないようにすることが大切です。そして、何らかの目的のためにツェツェバエの生息地域に渡航する際には、必ず刺されない吸血されないための工夫を施していき、一日の終わりには刺されていないか、症状が発症していないかを確認し、もし吸血された可能性があればすぐに専門医にかかることが大切です。

渡航する際には、必ず安全面を十分に考慮してから実行に移すようにしましょう。

まとめ

ここまでで、アフリカ睡眠病について理解し、危険を避けるための方法をご紹介してきました。アフリカ睡眠病は、後遺症が残る可能性が高く、無治療の場合死に至る避けるべき病気です。アフリカ睡眠病を避けるためには、十分に病気について理解し、必要のない危険を冒さないこと、リスクを最大限まで抑えることが大切になります。

また、アフリカ睡眠病の撲滅に関しては、「 国境なき医師団 」などが積極的に取り組んでいます。詳しい活動内容については、国境なき医師団のサイトのニュース欄に記載されています。もしこの問題に関して何らかの支援をお考えであれば、寄付について検討してみてはいかがでしょうか?本記事が、あなたの安全に少しでもお役に立てれば幸いです。

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