What are the Symptoms of Sleeping Sickness?

What are the Symptoms of Sleeping Sickness?

Sleeping sickness, also known as African trypanosomiasis, is a parasitic infection caused by Trypanosoma parasites and transmitted through the bite of infected tsetse flies. The disease progresses in two stages, and symptoms can vary based on the stage and severity. The two stages are:

  1. Early Stage (Hemolymphatic Stage):
    • Fever and flu-like symptoms: High fever, severe headaches, muscle aches, and fatigue.
    • Swollen lymph nodes: Enlarged lymph nodes, particularly in the neck, armpit, or groin.
    • Joint pain: Pain and inflammation in the joints.
    • Pruritus (itching): Itching may be experienced, especially around the bite site.
  2. Late Stage (Meningoencephalitic Stage):
    • Neurological symptoms: As the parasite invades the central nervous system, individuals may experience:
      • Sleep disturbances: Disruption of the sleep cycle, confusion, and insomnia during the night, followed by drowsiness and sleep during the day.
      • Personality changes: Irritability, mood swings, and personality alterations.
      • Cognitive impairment: Difficulty concentrating, confusion, and impaired mental function.
      • Tremors and muscle weakness: Involuntary muscle movements and weakness.
      • Seizures: Epileptic seizures may occur.

In the late stage, the term “sleeping sickness” is derived from the characteristic sleep disturbances experienced by affected individuals.

It’s important to note that sleeping sickness is a serious condition that requires prompt medical attention. Without treatment, it can be fatal. Diagnosis and treatment should be managed by a healthcare professional experienced in tropical diseases. If you suspect you or someone else has sleeping sickness, seek immediate medical help.

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