Health & Fitness

What causes African trypanosomiasis?

By: Alfredo HuUpdated: November 30, 2020

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African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) (see the image below) is an illness endemic to sub-Saharan Africa. It is caused by two subspecies of the flagellate protozoan Trypanosoma brucei, which are transmitted to human hosts by bites of infected tsetse flies.

People also ask, what is trypanosomiasis disease?

Human African trypanosomiasis, also known as sleeping sickness, is a vector-borne parasitic disease. It is caused by infection with protozoan parasites belonging to the genus Trypanosoma. Tsetse flies are found just in sub-Saharan Africa though only certain species transmit the disease.

Additionally, what causes sleeping sickness?

African Trypanosomiasis, also known as “sleeping sickness”, is caused by microscopic parasites of the species Trypanosoma brucei. It is transmitted by the tsetse fly (Glossina species), which is found only in sub-Saharan Africa.

Is African trypanosomiasis a virus or bacteria?

African trypanosomiasis, also known as African sleeping sickness or simply sleeping sickness, is an insect-borne parasitic infection of humans and other animals. It is caused by the species Trypanosoma brucei. Humans are infected by two types, Trypanosoma brucei gambiense (TbG) and Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense (TbR).

How is trypanosomiasis diagnosed?

CSF testing is done after a parasitologic diagnosis has been made by microscopic examination of blood, lymph node aspirates, chancre fluid, or bone marrow or when indications of infection are present that justify a lumbar puncture (e.g., clinical signs and symptoms of sleeping sickness or strong serologic suspicion).

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How does African trypanosomiasis affect the body?

Trypanosome life cycle
Once in the bloodstream, the parasites transform into slender trypomastigotes with a longer flagellum which then spread rapidly to other areas of the body in the blood. The trypomastigotes multiply in the blood, lymph? or spinal fluid?.

How is trypanosomiasis prevented?

How can I prevent African trypanosomiasis and prevent other insect bites?
  1. Wear protective clothing, including long-sleeved shirts and pants.
  2. Wear neutral-colored clothing.
  3. Inspect vehicles for tsetse flies before entering.
  4. Avoid bushes.
  5. Use insect repellant.

How is trypanosomiasis transmitted?

They are transmitted to humans by tsetse fly (Glossina genus) bites which have acquired their infection from human beings or from animals harbouring human pathogenic parasites. Tsetse flies are found just in sub-Saharan Africa though only certain species transmit the disease.

What is sleeping disease called?

Sleeping sickness, also called "human African trypanosomiasis", is a widespread tropical disease that can be fatal if not treated. It is spread by the bite of an infected tsetse fly (Glossina Genus), a species native to the African continent.

What are the symptoms of trypanosomiasis?

Fever, severe headaches, irritability, extreme fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, and aching muscles and joints are common symptoms of sleeping sickness. Some people develop a skin rash. Progressive confusion, personality changes, and other neurologic problems occur after infection has invaded the central nervous system.

How do you test for African sleeping sickness?

CSF testing is done after a parasitologic diagnosis has been made by microscopic examination of blood, lymph node aspirates, chancre fluid, or bone marrow or when indications of infection are present that justify a lumbar puncture (e.g., clinical signs and symptoms of sleeping sickness or strong serologic suspicion).

How do you prevent tsetse fly bites?

Prevent tsetse fly bites by taking the following steps:
  1. Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
  2. Avoid bushes during the day; the fly rests in bushes and will bite if disturbed.
  3. Inspect vehicles for tsetse flies before entering.

What is Winterbottom's sign?

Dr. Anthony Martinelli describes Winterbottom's sign as the swelling of lymph nodes (lymphadenopathy) along the back of the neck, in the posterior cervical chain of lymph nodes, as trypanosomes travel in the lymphatic fluid and cause inflammation. Winterbottom's sign. Differential diagnosis. African trypanosomiasis.

What is the prognosis for African sleeping sickness?

Prognosis. African trypanosomiasis is fatal if not treated. In early or stage 1 disease, most patients recover fully with treatment. In late or stage 2 disease, the CNS disease will be fatal if untreated but the cure rate approaches 95% with drugs that cross the blood/brain barrier, such as melarsoprol.

How long does African sleeping sickness last?

It's a short-term (acute) illness that may last several weeks to months. People from the U.S. who travel to Africa are rarely infected. On average, 1 U.S. citizen is infected every year.

Where are tsetse flies found in Africa?

Tsetse flies are found in sub-Saharan Africa. Travelers spending a lot of time outdoors or visiting game parks in these areas can be bitten by tsetse flies and get infected.

What are the risk factors of T brucei?

Risk factors for African trypanosomiasis include residence in Central or South America, living in old houses with mud and stick wall constructions or straw roofs, ingestion of contaminated water, or receiving blood transfusions or organ donation from individuals in regions with high endemicity.

What countries have tsetse fly?

It is confined to Central and West Africa and can go undetected for months before serious symptoms emerge. The latter strain is less common, faster to develop and confined to Southern and East Africa. Uganda is the only country with both T.b. gambiense and T.b. rhodesiense.