Sleeping sickness

General information about the infection

 The carrier of the African sleeping sickness fly tse-tse

Sleeping sickness (African tripasonomoz or African sleeping sickness) - an infection, which many readers will have learned as a child, from the pages of adventure novels of Jules Verne and Louis Bussenar. Famous authors vividly described symptoms of carotid disease and its terrible consequences, which, however, can not be called an exaggeration, because in most cases actually infected died. The causative agent of the human sleeping sickness enters bites of tsetse flies (genus Glossina), which in turn become ill animals and people are carriers of pathogenic parasites of the genus Trypanosoma. Sleeping sickness is spread on the African continent. Every year sleeping sickness is diagnosed in 50-70 thousand. People, but the number of infected is constantly decreasing, which is associated with urbanization and improving the quality of life in developing countries.

Experts identify several species of African sleeping sickness. Gambian African sleeping sickness prevalence around large lakes and along rivers. Rhodesian form, on the contrary, is typical of the savanna and is often found in areas of tropical deforestation. The causative agents of sleeping sickness - flat parasites with oblong-fusiform shape. They are very small (12-20 microns in length), but movable, easily moved from place to place with a translucent membrane that runs along the body.

The symptoms of carotid disease and clinical picture

The tsetse fly parasites are inoculated into the subcutaneous space during bloodsucking .  A number of trypanosomes directly into the bloodstream, but most of it remains in the site of the bite, which is an active multiplication of pathogens and the formation of characteristic painful knot - chancre .  Then the parasites begin to spread through the body via the interstitial space and lymphatics .  Interestingly, the sleeping sickness is constantly mutating .  The first wave of triponasom die due to the action of antibodies, but in the course of this invisible struggle produced a new, antigenic form of infection .  In this one strain of sleeping sickness forms hundreds of new variants of the parasite .  It is not surprising, therefore, that in the absence of adequate treatment, people are absolutely vulnerable to African sleeping sickness .  Another concern is the fact that experts still have no idea how it happens tissue damage .

As for the symptoms of sleeping sickness. Rhodesian sleeping sickness occurs more acutely and severely than Gambian, but in general, signs of infection in both forms - are almost identical:

  • the input chancre - a painful knot in the place of inoculation trypanosomes. It appears after 5-7 days after carotid disease pathogen ingested. The chancre can appear anywhere on the body. Sometimes he is willing, but ultimately almost always heal spontaneously;
  • remitting fever;
  • sleeplessness;
  • severe headaches;
  • trouble concentrating;
  • developing tachycardia;
  • rise in body temperature;
  • an increase in the posterior cervical nodes triangle;
  • painful subcutaneous edema;
  • Europeans have, in addition to the basic symptoms annular erythema.

If a person identified African sleeping sickness Gambian type exacerbation replaced latent periods of calm. This infection can remain undetected for a long time, up until then, until full power is not manifest signs of damage to the central nervous system. Rhodesian sleeping sickness, whose symptoms are more pronounced, detected more quickly. In this form of patient attrition occurs almost immediately, however, the lymph nodes are less noticeable. Note also that in the absence of treatment, the patients usually die from intercurrent infections and myocarditis even before the typical syndrome develop sleeping sickness.

As the infection, the symptoms of sleeping sickness appear stronger. Patients appear absent expression droops lower lip, lowered eyelids. Patients seemed to fall into a stupor, and more and more difficult to encourage them to carry out the most basic steps. They never refuse to eat, but do not ask for it, rarely go to the contact with others. In the latter stages of sleeping sickness leads to seizures, transient paralysis, coma, epilepsy and finally the inevitable death.

Treatment and prevention of African sleeping sickness

 Prevention of sleeping sickness

For the treatment of sleeping sickness are traditionally used: suramin, organic arsenic compounds, and pentamidine. Eflornithine often used, which are particularly effective in Gambian form. Specific treatment methods depend on the CNS of resistance to drugs and the general condition of the patient. Due to the high toxicity of all of these agents have severe side effects, so they should be used only by medical specialists constantly monitored.

Prevention of carotid disease is to perform simple but effective rules:

  • refuse to visit the centers of disease unless absolutely necessary;
  • wear light colored clothing, long-sleeved shirts;
  • when entering the street to bring insect repellent;
  • for the prevention of the disease every 6 months to make an intramuscular injection of pentamidine.




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