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All about sleeping sickness (African trypanosomiasis) causes of sleeping sickness symptoms of sleeping sickness diagnosis of sleeping sickness treatment for sleeping sickness {sleep disorders} dysomnias insomnia narcolepsy sleep apnea restless legs syndrome delayed sleep phase syndrome night terror sleepwalking (somnambulism) bedwetting sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) sleeping sickness sleep paralysis snoring bruxism jet lag

What is sleeping sickness?

Sleeping sickness or African trypanosomiasis is an infectious parasitic disease carried by tsetse flies and characterized by inflammation of the brain and the covering of the brain (meninges). Trypanosoma, the parasites concerned, are protozoa transmitted to humans by tsetse flies (glossina). Tsetse flies live in Africa, and they are found in vegetation by

rivers and lakes, gallery-forests and vast stretches of wooded savannah.

Sleeping sickness occurs only in sub-Saharan Africa, in regions where tsetse flies are endemic. For reasons as yet unknown, there are many regions where tsetse flies are found, but sleeping sickness is not. The rural populations that live in such environments and depend on them for agriculture, fishing, animal husbandry or hunting are the most exposed - along with their livestock - to the bite of the tsetse fly. Sleeping sickness affects remote and rural areas where health systems are least effective, or non-existent. It spreads with socio-economic problems such as political instability, displacement of populations, war and poverty. It develops in foci whose size can range from a village to an entire region. Within a given focus, the intensity of the disease can vary considerably from one village to the next.

Human African trypanosomiasis takes two forms, depending on the parasite involved. Trypanosoma brucei gambiense (T.b. gambiense) is found in central and West Africa. It causes chronic infection, which does not mean benign. A person can be infected for months or even years without obvious symptoms of the disease emerging. When symptoms do emerge, the disease is already at an advanced stage. Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense (T.b. rhodesiense) is found in southern and east Africa. It causes acute infection that emerges after a few weeks. It is more virulent than the other strain and develops more rapidly, which means that it is more quickly detected clinically.

More information on sleeping sickness

What is sleeping sickness? - Sleeping sickness or African trypanosomiasis is an infectious parasitic disease carried by tsetse flies and characterized by inflammation of the brain.
What causes sleeping sickness? - Sleeping sickness is caused by two organisms, T. brucei rhodesiense and T. brucei gambiense. Gambiense-infected people develop drowsiness during the day.
What're the symptoms of sleeping sickness? - Symptoms of sleeping sickness begin with fever, headaches, and joint pains. Other symptoms resemble Parkinson's disease.
How is sleeping sickness diagnosed? - Diagnosis of sleeping sickness can be made by microscopic examination of fluid from the original sore at the site of the tsetse fly bite.
What's the treatment for sleeping sickness? - Treatment for sleeping sickness depends on the phase of the disease: initial or neurological.
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All information is intended for reference only. Please consult your physician for accurate medical advices and treatment. Copyright 2005,, all rights reserved. Last update: July 18, 2005