From: Femi Oyelola, kaduna
A Lecturer with Kaduna, State University (KASU) Shuaibu Mohammed has said over 70,000 are at the risk of contacting Sleeping Sickness every year .He disclosed this n a pape he Presented at the First Annual Conference on Climate Change jointly organized by African Climate Reporters and Womenhood Foundation of Nigeria. In kaduna yesterday.
Shuaibu further said over 6o million people are at risk of the infection in sub Saharan Africa annually.
The paper Titled: Climate Change and Parasitic Shift: Strategy for the Fulani of Northern Nigeria, the expert noted that one of the consequences of Climate changes is the shifting boundaries for many components and processes within the systems
“Climate change is a natural phenomenon that is characterised by global warming, rising sea level and other extreme environmental events.
“Climate is essential to ecosystem services and stability. One of the consequences of climate change is the shifting boundaries for many components and processes within the systems”, he said.
He also said that among these components are pathogens and infectious diseases.
“Vector-borne diseases are particularly sensitive to warming because temperature changes can alter vector development rates, shift their geographical distribution and alter transmission dynamics. “Trypanosome, a vector-borne disease of humans and animals, was recently identified as one of the 12 infectious diseases likely to spread owing to climate change. It is the most critical factor that limits the southwards migration of Fulani.
“ln Northern Nigeria, climate
change impacts are mainly flood, drought and rural urban migration”, he said, adding that desertification in the far north; the expansion of the savannah in the middle belt and the contraction of the rain forest down south “may expand availability of pasture and distribution of tsetse fly.
The Fulanis and associated tribes, according to him, are the
custodians of over 90% Of cattle in Nigeria, stressing that “these cattle are the major sources of meat and dairy products in Nigeria.
“The distribution of Fulani in Nigeria is determined not only by pasture and water but also by presence or absence of cattle parasites such as trypanosome. Sleeping sickness, or African trypanosomiasis, has been identified as an infectious disease that is very likely to be affected by climate change. It is caused by a parasite carried by Tsetse flies which infects the nervous system and, if untreated, is fatal.