Trypanosoma gambiense

Trypanosoma gambiense

Classification :

  • Phylum- Protozoa
  • Sub-phylum- Plasmodroma
  • Class- Mastigophora
  • Sub-class- Zoomastigophora
  • Order- Protomonadina
  • Genus- Trypanosoma
  • Species- gambiense

Tryapanosoma gambiense is a flagellate parasite of human blood transmitted by Tse-tse fly. This is commonly distributed in central Africa, Egyptian countries and almost all territories which have low marshy land. It causes African sleeping sickness disease.

Life Cycle :

It multiplies by binary fission in the blood stream of man. Just after inoculation of parasite, an interstitial inflammation occurs in the skin of human beings which gradually subsides in 1 to 2 weeks. In the mean time parasites reach into the blood stream and initiate a rather heavy parasitemia. The parasites come more and more to lodge in the lymph nodes and later in the spaces of central nervous system and then the brain substance. Thus, following the initial lesion in the skin, three progressive stages of tissue relationship occur viz., parasitemia, lymphadenitis and involvement of central nervous system.

As soon as the parasite invades the lymph nodes, causing painful enlargement, there is a febril attack of about 7 days duration, then an apyretic period, typically followed by one or more attack of fever. The parasites are found in the blood only during the episodes of the fever. During lymphadenitis the enlargement of lymph nodes, spleen and liver occurs which causes headache, arthritic pain and weakness of the leg. Further, precordial pain, disturbed vision, delayed sensation to pain, anaemia and extreme weakness appears. Now again an acute febrile attack may cause the death of the patient.

The involvement of central nervous system is commonly referred to a sleeping sickness which is one of the more advanced neurological symptoms. In more advanced condition, the patient sleeps continuously, convulsions occur, then profound coma and finally death which frequently results due to intercurrent infection.

Prevention and control :

The Gambian trypanosomiasis in endemic areas may be reduced by:

  1. Protecting the human-beings from the bite of tse-tse fly.
  2. Quarantine of persons coming from infected to uninfected territory.
  3. Campaigns to destroy the resting and breeding grounds to tsetse fly.
  4. Mass treatment of people with curative and prophylactic drugs accompanied by tse-tse control. This programme is most suitable for this species which is essentially a man adapted strain or species and not common in animal reservoirs.

Certain drugs like tryparsamide and certain other arsenicals, suramine, sodium and dimidine compounds are most effective for treatment.

  1. Suramine is very effective in febrile-lymphadenitis stage but valueless after appearance of neurological phase.
  2. Tryparsamide has been the most widely used helpful drug in Gambian trypanosomiasis. It is administered by vein, once or twice weekly.
  3. Diamidines, particularly pentamidine and propamidine are especially valuable during earlier stage and substituted by tryparsamide if optic neuritis develops.

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