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African Trypanosomiasis: Symptoms, Diagnosing and Treatment

African Trypanosomiasis

General Information

There are two types of the African Trypanosomiasis which is also known as the sleeping sickness:

  • East African Trypanosomiasis
  • West African Trypanosomiasis

Both these types of the diseases are named after their area where they have been mostly found in historically. East African Trypanosomiasis is caused due to a parasite known as the Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense found in the tsetse fly. Every year, many cases of the disease have been reported to the World Health Organization and there are many that are not reported due to multiple reasons and thus the total number of the infants is much higher than what it’s been known in the stats.

West African Trypanosomiasis is also known as the Gambian sleeping sickness and t is also caused by a parasite called Trypanosoma brucei gambiense and is found in the tsetse fly also. For the last few years, there have been a total of 7,000 to 10,000 cases of the disease have been reported by to the WHO every year.

Symptoms of African Trypanosomiasis

Main symptoms of the disease are as follows:

  • Insomnia at the night
  • Fever
  • Anxiety
  • Drowsiness during the day
  • Headache
  • Sweating
  • Mood changing
  • Sleepiness
  • Weakness

And a lot more, if you ever feel any of these symptoms in the African countries, must visit your doctor immediately before it get worse.

Diagnosis of African Trypanosomiasis

As the clinical features of the disease are not too specific for the diagnosis, the doctors have to take the laboratory tests of the patient to diagnose them. The diagnosis ends until the finding of the parasite in the tissue or the body fluid. The quantity of the parasite found in the Trypanosoma brucei gambiense is less than the quantity of parasite found in the Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense therefore the Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense parasites can be easily found from the blood samples. One of the best techniques for the diagnosing of the Trypanosoma brucei gambiense is done by the microscopic study of the lymph node aspirate.

Since the diagnosing and treatment of the disease is done after determining the stage of the disease, patients must have their lymph node aspirate tested before going to the diagnosing process so that the involvement of the central nervous system can be known.

Treatment of African Trypanosomiasis

The type of the treatment is suggested after knowing the type of the infection the patient is suffering from and also by knowing the stage of the disease. Everyone suffering from the disease must be treated.

By determining the stage of the disease to treat the patient actually means, checking that if there is any involvement of the central nervous system and is it affected by the parasite or not. Pentamidine is the drug that is basically suggested by the doctors during the initial stage of the disease and can be purchased from anywhere in the United States.

One important thing that can be taken into account and can save lives is that immediately visit the doctor when you start feeling the symptoms for the first time, and in case of the emergency call the 911.

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