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Mental distress and health-related quality of life in gambiense human African trypanosomiasis: a case–control study in the Democratic Republic of Congo



The extent to which neuropsychiatric sequelae affects the mental health status and quality of life of former gambiense human African trypanosomiasis (gHAT) patients is not known.


We assessed anxiety, depression and health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in 93 patients and their age- and sex-matched controls using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, Becks Depression Inventory and the 36-item Short Form Health Survey in structured interviews in the Vanga health zone in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Data were analysed using Stata version 14.0. The degree of association between neurologic sequelae and mental distress was evaluated using the Student's t-test and χ2 or Fisher's exact tests, where appropriate, with a p-value <0.05 deemed to be statistically significant.


We found that neurological sequelae persisted in former patients at least 15 y after treatment. Depression (p<0.001) and anxiety (p=0.001) were significantly higher in former patients with neurologic sequelae. The mean quality-of-life (QoL) scores were significantly lower for patients than in controls in the physical, emotional and mental health domains.


The presence of neurological sequelae leads to mental distress and a diminished QoL in former gHAT patients. Minimising neurologic sequelae and incorporating psychosocial interventions should be essential management goals for gHAT.

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Journal Article
Mudji J
Ackam N
Amoako YA
Madinga B
Mumbere P
Agbanyo A
Blum J
Phillips RO
Molyneux DH