African Sleeping Sickness
African Sleeping Sickness

African Sleeping Sickness: 2 Types, Symptoms, Causes, Distribution, and Diagnosis

African Sleeping sickness or African trypanosomiasis is a disease caused by the protozoa genus Trypanosoma and transmitted by tsetse flies. Sleeping sickness is a deadly disease.

According to World Health Organization (WHO) data it is estimated that between 50,000 and 70,000 people in sub-Saharan Africa contract sleep sickness, or Human African trypanosomiasis, which is spread through the bite of a tsetse fly. In addition to tsetse fly bites, the disease can be transmitted from mother to child or through blood transfusions.

Among all the types of tsetse flies that live only around the Sahara desert, only a few species can transmit the disease.

African sleeping sickness type of pathogen

There are two forms of trypanosomiasis disease, depending on the parasites involved:

Trypanosoma brucei gambiense

Trypanosoma brucei gambiense is found in central and western Africa. These parasites can cause chronic infection. This means a person can be infected for months or even years without causing any symptoms or signs.

Sufferers are often only known to suffer from the disease at an advanced stage where the central nervous system has been damaged.

Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense

Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense is found in eastern and southern Africa. This parasite causes acute infection. Signs and symptoms of the disease appear for the first time in a few weeks or several months after the onset of infection. The disease develops rapidly and hits the central nervous system.

There is also a form of trypanosomiasis that occurs in Latin America, which is more commonly known as Chagas disease. The causative organism comes from a different subgenus with African Trypanosoma and is transmitted by different vectors.

Trypanosomiasis can also occur in animals, both farm animals and wild animals.

African Sleeping Sickness Symptoms

Early symptoms include

  • Fever,
  • Headache, and
  • Pain in the joints,
  • Swelling of the lymph nodes,
  • Anemia, and
  • Kidney disease.

The interval of several days of sufferers undergoing changes in the cycle of sleep cycle; sleepy during the day and unable to sleep at night. If these initial symptoms are not receiving treatment as soon as possible, it can result in damage to the nervous system, coma, and the most fatal result is death.

African Sleeping Sickness Causes

African Sleeping Sickness is caused by parasites derived from the bite of the Tsetse fly. This type of fly can only be found in the Sub Saharan region of Africa. The disease usually attacks communities in rural areas and dwellings that have unsanitary environments.

There are two types of parasites that cause the disease, namely Trypanosoma brucei gambiense (T.b.g) and Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense (T.b.r). In a 2013 report by the WORLD Health Organization, 98% of cases of sleeping sickness were caused by the T.b.g. Parasite.

African Sleeping Sickness Distribution

The disease spreads in the tropical regions of the African continent between 150LU and 200LS, according to the tsetse fly spread area. In endemic areas 0.1% – 2% of the population is infected. At the time of the outbreak the disease can reach 70%. KLB can occur if due to an increase in the intensity of contact between humans and tsetse flies or virulent strains of Trypanosoma enter areas where the density of tsetse flies is very dense.

The entry of virulent strains is possible due to the movement of infected human or tsetse flies into an area. The Glossina palpalis fly is the main vector, in the western and central parts of Africa. Infections usually occur along streams or creeks bordering forested areas.

In Eastern Africa and lake Victoria vector is mainly the group G. Morsitans, infection occurs in dry savanna areas.

G. Fuscipes that belong to the palpalis group is a vector of disease transmission at the time of the outbreak of Rhodesiense types of sleep disease that occurs in Kenya and Zaire and this vector is also known as a vector in the peridomestic transmission in Uganda.

African Sleeping Sickness Diagnosis

Mechanism for diagnosing the disease through examination of fluid samples of people suspected of sleeping sickness in the laboratory. There are several fluids that can be sampled, such as blood, lymph node fluid, and bone marrow.

Identification of the disease should be carried out from the moment the initial symptoms begin to be felt so that paramedics can determine what action to take. If the symptoms of this disease have reached nerve movement, then the action to be taken is much more difficult because researchers have not found a cure for sleep sickness.

Usually, the recovery action taken to cure this disease is therapeutic. At the very least, monitoring the results of therapy takes two years to ensure the development of parasites in the body of the sufferer completely stops.

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African Sleeping Sickness: 2 Types, Symptoms, Causes, Distribution, and Diagnosis

Post in | Last updated: October 22nd, 2020 |