Trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) is an infectious disease, which is caused by protozoa (Truranosoma) single-celled organisms. There are several stages of the disease. Late-stage human covers painful drowsiness. Sleeping sickness is especially common between 15 degrees north and 15 degrees south latitude. The disease occurs in two forms. Gambian form that is caused by Trupanosoma gambiense distributed mainly in West and Central Africa – it is progressive, hidden. Rhodesian form that is caused by Trypanosoma rhodesiense, frequently found in East Africa. Clinical manifestations are more severe. Causative agents of the disease are transferred by tsetse. Each year in Africa tens of thousands of people get sick of trypanosomiasis, and many of them die.
- First stage: redness at the bite, swollen lymph nodes.
- Second stage: fever, anemia, weakness, enlargement of the spleen.
- Third stage: sealed lymph nodes, swelling.
- Fourth stage: tremor, convulsions, headache, lethargy, drowsiness.
After a bite of the tsetse fly from its salivary glands pathogens enter the human tissue and begin to multiply there. Through lymph they enter the bloodstream and spread throughout the body, affecting, in the end, the human brain. Organisms reproduce in different organs of the human body. Each new generation of parasites produce a specific protein that is different from the previous one. Therefore, the human immune system is not able to overcome the disease agents, as the body does not have time to develop antibodies against the new generation of pathogens.
The treatment is performed with synthetic chemicals, which are affected on the parasites. The earlier the treatment, the greater the likelihood of recovery.
Unfortunately, this is a very insidious disease; its symptoms can be mild on early stage. However, if you are in a country where the disease is prevalent, with the slightest suspicion of the possibility of infection you should seek medical attention immediately.
The doctor performs a blood test, a biopsy. Trypanosomiasis is diagnosed accurately. Treatment depends on the stage of the disease.
Course of the disease
There are several stages of sleeping sickness. After about a week at the bite location painful swelling appears, which increases with time. Nearby lymph nodes are enlarged and swollen. Spleen also increases. After 2-3 weeks, there are bouts of fever. The body’s immunity decreases, a person becomes sensitive to any infectious diseases. Anemia, myocarditis are manifested. The face becomes swollen. In the later stages of inflammation of the brain is possible. Patient weakens, loses appetite, becomes sluggish and apathetic. There are problems with sleep, gradually lethargic or coma develops.
Is it a dangerous disease?
If left untreated, sleeping sickness is fatal. Timely initiation of treatment provides healing and prevents the development of lesions of the nervous system and myocardium. Unfortunately, however, even if a person is ill with sleeping sickness, immunity to it is not produced.
In Africa, where there are pockets of trypanosomiasis, various measures are taken to eliminate the tsetse fly which transmits the disease pathogens, such as irradiated males, resulting in becoming sterile. To prevent people should take drugs that kill parasites. This is especially necessary for people who go to the countries in which the disease has been found.
Trypanosomiasis occurs in South and Central America. Carriers of the disease are bugs. The disease can develop for 10 years. Pathogens are gradually destroying human organs.