Trypanosome - What Is It? How To Get Rid Of It?

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Trypanosome - What Is It? How To Get Rid Of It?
Trypanosome - What Is It? How To Get Rid Of It?

Video: Trypanosome - What Is It? How To Get Rid Of It?

Video: Trypanosome - What Is It? How To Get Rid Of It?
Video: African Sleeping Sickness (Trypanosomiasis) | Causes, Symptoms and Treatment 2023, October

What is trypanosome? Treatment and prevention of trypanosomiasis


  • 1 Caused diseases
  • 2 Infection with parasite
  • 3 Development cycle of trypanosome
  • 4 Symptoms of infection
  • 5 Diagnostics
  • 6 Therapy of trypanosomiasis
  • 7 Prevention

Trypanosome is a unicellular microorganism that makes up the trypanosomatid family. It is a parasite - it cannot exist independently, it needs a neighborhood with a living organism.

Trypanosome spreads through insects: flies, triatomaceous bugs, tsetse flies, and female horseflies Tabanus. Various genera of this parasite can provoke the development of sleeping sickness, Chagas disease, sous-aura, accidental equine disease, artiodactyl trypanosomiasis. In the course of its life, trypanosome causes irreversible changes in the human body.


Caused diseases

Due to the presence of several species of insects that carry trypanosomes, a person can develop several dangerous pathologies at once. They can be both transient and chronic. They are united by the fact that in any case the disease has a high mortality rate.

At the moment, the following types of diseases caused by trypanosome are distinguished:

  • Sleeping sickness of the Gambian type - accompanied by severe muscle pain, depressed moods, drowsiness and exhaustion. Without proper drug treatment, a person can live with pathology for no more than 5 years.
  • Sleeping sickness of the Rhodesian type - has a more malignant course, since death without treatment can occur within 9-12 months. A furuncle appears at the site of the bite of the parasite, after which the body temperature rises rapidly. A person suffers from severe headache, which cannot be drowned out by drugs.
  • Chagas disease - differs in that for a long time it can proceed without any symptoms. At the same time, in humans, the heart muscle, the gastrointestinal tract, and the lining of the brain are affected and inflamed. If untreated, the patient may experience a stroke, heart attack and heart failure, while children may have meningoencephalitis.


Parasite infestation

Sleeping sickness, or trypanosomiasis, can occur in two forms. It all depends on which pathogen has bitten the person: Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense or Trypanosoma brucei gambiense. These two forms have a similar course of the disease, but different distribution. Statistics show that the second parasite that causes the Gambian type trypanosoma occurs in 98% of cases.

Sleeping sickness is caused by an insect bite that carries the infection. Trypanosome is a unicellular microorganism with an elongated body. When moving, the microorganism bends, all movements occur with the help of a special flagellum.

It should be borne in mind that in some individuals, certain parts of the body may be absent or their structure may differ significantly.


The developmental cycle of trypanosome

Trypanosome is a microorganism that belongs to the group of obligate parasites. In one life cycle, it can change several owners. The African trypanosome is tightly fixed in the digestive tract of the insect, multiplies there for several days. Over time, the parasite takes on an epimastigous form, thanks to which it penetrates the salivary glands - this allows it to spread.

After 2-3 weeks, epimastigotes develop into metacyclic trypomastigotes - microorganisms that are ready to spread to other animal forms and new places of residence. Biting a living organism, the insect leaves a small amount of saliva infected with parasites in the wound. Within 10 days, unicellular organisms do not spread throughout the body, but remain in this small fossa.


Over time, the trypanosome takes root and begins to rapidly spread throughout the body: through the blood, lymph, cerebrospinal fluid.

Due to the fact that the parasite needs nutrition for full reproduction, during reproduction it can affect the lymph nodes, liver, spleen and even the heart. All this leads to general poisoning of the body, as well as disruption of the central and peripheral nervous system.

The main danger of trypanosomes is that cells affected by the pathogen can enter the bloodstream. After that, the pathogen receives a signal about the completion of one cycle and the need to start a new one.

With intestinal trypanosomiasis, the transition to a new cycle is carried out directly in the intestine of the triatom bug. In this case, metacyclic trypomastigotes enter the human body through insect feces, which he leaves directly near the wound.

If you have recently visited an endemic area, see your doctor immediately. It is necessary to conduct a full diagnostic examination that will help determine the infection at the initial stage. In this case, it will be possible to prescribe effective treatment and maintain the health of the body.

Infection symptoms

The first signs of trypanosome infection can be recognized as early as 5 days after the insect bite. A small but extremely painful swelling appears in the affected area. It is in it that active reproduction and development of the parasite takes place.

When their number reaches a certain value, they begin to penetrate into the internal environment of the body through the lymph and tissues. The swelling itself becomes inflamed, develops into an ulcer. However, there have been cases where the bite site did heal. 7-10 days after infection, purple spots appear on the human body.

The Rhodesian form of sleeping sickness has a more severe course.

It is quite difficult to diagnose it in the initial stages, since the pathology can quickly worsen and subside again. Such periods cause serious depletion of the body, a decline in immune abilities. In addition, other infections may join, due to which a person may die even before the development of trypanosomiasis.


Gambian sleeping sickness is usually diagnosed after signs of damage to the nervous system appear.

Keep in mind that the signs of trypanosoma will grow gradually, which is why a person does not immediately decide to see a doctor. In the initial stages, he shows signs of an allergic reaction, headache, discomfort in the joints. Over time, this is joined by an increased body temperature, which can flow into a state of fever.

At the next stage, the nervous system is affected. Signs of such a deviation can be recognized by the following manifestations:

  • Awareness of the period of sleep and wakefulness is impaired;
  • Coordination of movements is impaired;
  • The taste of food is lost, lack of smell;
  • Loss of social skills;
  • Avoiding any communication.


It is because of the emerging symptoms that trypanosomiasis is called sleeping sickness. A person is constantly in a sleepy state, he can easily sleep up to 20 hours a day. Over time, a severe headache appears, which even the most powerful drugs cannot get rid of.


It is extremely difficult to diagnose trypanosomiasis using clinical manifestations alone. Every person who has visited an endemic area must undergo an extended examination. It includes a set of laboratory tests, thanks to which it is possible to identify the pathogen in the body. These include:

  • General blood analysis;
  • Blood chemistry;
  • Microscopic examination of peripheral blood;
  • Serological blood test;
  • Xenodiagnostics;
  • Inoculation of blood to experimental animals.


Also, the diagnosis of trypanosomes requires differentiation of the disease from other infections:

  • With other parasitic - teniasis, toxoplasmosis;
  • With diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and genitals - aneurysm of the esophagus, colpitis;
  • With diseases of the cardiovascular system - rheumatic disease, complications of tonsillitis.

Trypanosomiasis therapy

To stop the development of the disease, as well as reduce the risk of any complications, it is necessary to immediately begin therapy for this disease. Only then will you be able to minimize the need for complex medical procedures.

If you begin to feel prolonged unreasonable discomfort, try to immediately consult a doctor for a detailed diagnosis. This will help not only increase the likelihood of a positive treatment outcome, but also reduce the risk of subsequent infection in healthy people.


Due to the low development of the countries of the African continent, trypanosome begins to rapidly spread among the healthy population. This is what leads to a high percentage of deaths, as well as a high prevalence of the disease.

It should be borne in mind that at different stages, pathology requires a completely different method of treatment. You should not self-medicate or hope that the malaise will go away on its own - this way you will only provoke the development of negative consequences.

Trypanosoma treatment will only be effective if you are prescribed the right drugs. They must cross the blood-brain barrier in order to have a suppressive effect on parasites.

Keep in mind that only doctors can prescribe such medicines - they are extremely toxic, it is rather difficult to prescribe the required dose. The World Health Organization has presented a specific list of drugs that can cure sleeping sickness. These include:

  • Pentamidine - used to treat the first stage of trypanosoma. It is well tolerated by patients, but it causes side effects.
  • Suramin - also used to treat the first stage of infection, can cause abnormalities in the functioning of the bladder or allergic reactions.
  • Melarsoprol is intended for the treatment of two forms of sleeping sickness, however, it can provoke reactive encephalopathy, which is fatal in 10% of cases.
  • Eflornithine is the most modern drug with less toxic effects. It is also only taken under medical supervision.


The most effective is the combined approach, when Nifurtimox and Eflornithine are used simultaneously. A similar practice was introduced in 2009. Medicines, when used correctly, are absolutely safe, they are recommended by the WHO.

Also, this organization is engaged in the free distribution of drugs on the territory of endemic areas. This allows you to stop mortality and reduce the spread of infection.


The main goal of trypanosomiasis prevention is vector control. Every effort should be made to minimize contact with insects. Such measures are especially relevant for residents of areas where these pathogens live.

To protect yourself as much as possible from trypanosome carriers, it is necessary to install mosquito nets, screens and traps, and turn on repellents. This will help prevent bedbugs and tsetse flies from entering your home.

It is also important to regularly treat the vegetation with special insecticides that will help kill all insects. Try to remove any plants from your area that can be a refuge for flies.

It is recommended to have a regular blood test that will help diagnose infection in time. With an integrated approach to treatment, the risk of death will be low.