African trypanosomiasis digital illustration

African trypanosomiasis Save

ICD-10 code: B56

Chapter: Certain infectious and parasitic diseases

African Trypanosomiasis: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

African Trypanosomiasis, also known as sleeping sickness, is a parasitic disease that is transmitted through the bite of an infected tsetse fly. The disease is prevalent in sub-Saharan Africa, affecting both humans and animals. African Trypanosomiasis can be fatal if left untreated, making it a serious public health concern.

  1. Causes: The disease is caused by the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma brucei, which is carried by tsetse flies. The flies become infected when they feed on the blood of an infected animal or human. Once inside the body, the parasite multiplies and spreads through the bloodstream, eventually invading the central nervous system.
  2. Symptoms: The symptoms of African Trypanosomiasis can be divided into two stages. In the early stage (also known as the hemolymphatic stage), the symptoms include fever, headache, joint pain, and itching. As the disease progresses to the second stage (also known as the neurological stage), the parasite invades the central nervous system, causing confusion, seizures, and sleep disturbances. If left untreated, the disease can lead to coma and death.
  3. Treatment: The treatment for African Trypanosomiasis depends on the stage of the disease. In the early stage, the disease can be treated with medication, specifically pentamidine or suramin. In the second stage, medication such as melarsoprol or eflornithine may be used. Prevention is also key in controlling the spread of the disease. This includes wearing protective clothing to avoid being bitten by tsetse flies, using insect repellent, and avoiding areas known to have high concentrations of the flies.

In conclusion, African Trypanosomiasis is a serious disease that affects many people in sub-Saharan Africa. It is important to take preventative measures to avoid being bitten by tsetse flies and to seek medical attention if you suspect you have been infected. With proper treatment and prevention, we can work towards controlling the spread of this deadly disease.