Which Protozoa Causes Sleeping Sickness?


Sleeping sickness, also known as African trypanosomiasis, is caused by two species of protozoan parasites belonging to the genus Trypanosoma: Trypanosoma brucei gambiense and Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense. These parasites are transmitted to humans through the bite of infected tsetse flies, which are found in certain regions of sub-Saharan Africa.

Trypanosoma brucei gambiense causes the chronic form of sleeping sickness, which is responsible for the majority of cases and progresses slowly over a period of several years. Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense causes the acute form of the disease, which tends to progress more rapidly, typically over a few months.

Sleeping sickness can lead to a range of symptoms, including fever, fatigue, headaches, joint pain, and eventually neurological symptoms such as confusion, sleep disturbances, and personality changes. If left untreated, the disease can be fatal.

Preventive measures to avoid infection include using insect repellents, wearing protective clothing, and taking other precautions to minimize exposure to tsetse flies in endemic areas. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment are crucial to managing the disease effectively, as it becomes more difficult to treat once it progresses to the late stages.

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