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 Native to tropical Africa, these big, biting flies spread the parasitic infection that causes African sleeping sickness, a disease that is 100 percent fatal without treatment, and the treatment itself is notoriously difficult. Bill Heavey, Field & Stream, "The 12 Deadliest Insects in the World," 19 Oct. 2020 Thanks to new technologies and the work of national sleeping sickness programs, there are now fewer than 1,000 cases reported a year, down from more than 30,000 two decades ago. Nathalie Strub-wourgaft, STAT, "Now is the time to innovate for more than 1 billion people with neglected tropical diseases," 24 Nov. 2020 In years past, African sleeping sickness was responsible for killing as many as half a million people every year by some estimates. Bill Heavey, Field & Stream, "The 12 Deadliest Insects in the World," 19 Oct. 2020 In years past, African sleeping sickness was responsible for killing as many as 500,000 people each year by some estimates. Bill Heavey, Field & Stream, "The 10 Deadliest Animals on Earth," 5 Aug. 2020 Tsetse flies spread the parasitic infection that causes African sleeping sickness, a disease that is 100 percent fatal without treatment. Bill Heavey, Field & Stream, "The 10 Deadliest Animals on Earth," 5 Aug. 2020 Treating sleeping sickness is notoriously difficult. Bill Heavey, Field & Stream, "The 10 Deadliest Animals on Earth," 5 Aug. 2020 There are different theories for the appearance of sleeping sickness in East Africa. Carey Baraka, Quartz Africa, "I am alive because my Kenyan great-grandfather quarantined 100 years ago and here we go again," 26 Apr. 2020 And in 2020, the World Health Organization hopes to eliminate sleeping sickness, or African trypanosomiasis, as a public health problem. Davide Castelvecchi, Scientific American, "Watch Out for These Science Events in 2020," 30 Dec. 2019

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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Time Traveler for sleeping sickness

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The first known use of sleeping sickness was in 1875

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Cite this Entry

“Sleeping sickness.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sleeping%20sickness. Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on sleeping sickness

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about sleeping sickness

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