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Tsetse flies

Tsetse flies (Glossina spp.), are a scourge of Africa. There are close to ten economically important species, all of which feed on blood and transmit the Trypanosoma parasites, which are responsible for sleeping sickness in humans and animal trypanosomosis or "Nagana" in cattle. The continuing presence and advancement of tsetse into new agricultural systems prevents sustainable and profitable livestock system in almost two thirds of sub-Saharan Africa.

Since agriculture cannot function effectively without the benefits of livestock (traction power for transport and ploughing, manure for fertilizer and fuel, and nutritious food products including meat and milk), tsetse is at the very root of poverty.

Over several decades, the Joint Programme has been developing the SIT against the most important tsetse species. It is effectively used where natural populations have been reduced by traps, insecticide impregnated targets, treatment of livestock, or the aerial application of the sequential aerosol technique. The area-wide release of sterile males sustained over a many fly generations, can ultimately eradicate an isolated tsetse population. Recent developments on membrane feeding, pupal sex-separation and semi-automated rearing considerably increase production capacity, standardize quality sensitive rearing processes, and decrease sterile male production costs.

A project with Tanzania Government, using sterile males from the tsetse production facility in Tanga on mainland Tanzania, eradicated the only tsetse species, G. austeni, from the Unguja Island, Zanzibar. The feasibility of applying this AW-IPM approach over larger areas of the African mainland is currently being investigated in the Southern Rift Valley of Ethiopia, and at various other sites near the north and southern edge of the tsetse belt.

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