sleeping sickness

noun

Definition of sleeping sickness 

1 : a serious disease that is prevalent in much of tropical Africa, is marked by fever, headache, lethargy, confusion, and sleep disturbances, and is caused by either of two trypanosomes (Trypanosoma brucei gambiense and T. b. rhodesiense) transmitted by tsetse flies

2 : any of various viral encephalitides or encephalomyelitides of which lethargy or somnolence is a prominent feature

Examples of sleeping sickness in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

These crippling and even fatal diseases include African sleeping sickness, a brain-eating amoeba, hookworm, roundworms that infiltrate the lymphatic system, and malaria. Bradley J. Fikes, sandiegouniontribune.com, "UCSD steps up fight against tropical parasitical diseases," 4 July 2018 The tsetse fly, which spreads sleeping sickness, nourishes its grub inside a bizarrely mammalian uterus and feeds it with a milklike fluid—one that’s laden with microbes. Ed Yong, The Atlantic, "The Wasp That Paints Its Nursery In Bacteria," 12 Dec. 2017 Despite the side effects, DEET is still one of the best lines of defense against not just ants but mosquitoes, which transmit deadly diseases like dengue fever, malaria, and sleeping sickness. Kyle Frischkorn, Smithsonian, "Studying Ant “Noses” Could Lead to Better Bug Repellents," 11 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'sleeping sickness.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of sleeping sickness

1875, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of sleeping sickness was in 1875

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More Definitions for sleeping sickness

sleeping sickness

noun

English Language Learners Definition of sleeping sickness

: a tropical disease that causes fever, sleepiness, and usually death

sleeping sickness

noun

Medical Definition of sleeping sickness 

1 : a serious disease that is prevalent in much of tropical Africa, is marked by fever, headache, protracted lethargy, confusion, sleep disturbances, tremors, and loss of weight, is caused by either of two trypanosomes (Trypanosoma brucei gambiense and T. b. rhodesiense), and is transmitted by tsetse flies

called also African sleeping sickness

2 : any of various viral encephalitides or encephalomyelitides of which lethargy or somnolence is a prominent feature especially : equine encephalomyelitis

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