REVOLUTIONARY practices piloted by the University of Edinburgh have reduced rates of sleeping sickness in rural Uganda by 90 per cent.

Researchers said the new initiative has already saved thousands of lives, and they now plan to roll it out across the whole country.

Cases of the disease among people in rural Uganda fell by 90 per cent because of the new measures, which eliminate the parasite from domestic cattle, therefore drastically reducing the risk of contraction by humans.

The university now plans to treat around 2.7 million cattle in the central African country, targeting the districts most badly affected by the disease.

Attempting to effectively treat the disease has been a major struggle for the Ugandan Government over recent decades.

If left untreated, the parasitic infection – which affects the nervous system in the body – is always fatal, and can be transmitted by the bite of a tsetse fly that is carrying the disease.