BACK TOTOP Browse A-ZSearchBrowse A-ZABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ0-9 E-mail FormEmail ResultsName:Email address:Recipients Name:Recipients address:Message: Print-FriendlyBookmarksbookmarks-menuSleeping sicknessParasite infection - human African trypanosomiasisSleeping sickness is an infection caused by tiny parasites carried by certain flies. It results in swelling of the brain. Causes Sleeping sickness is caused by two types of parasites Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense and Trypanosomoa brucei gambiense. T b rhodesiense causes the more severe form of the illness.Tsetse flies carry the infection. When an infected fly bites you, the infection spreads through your bloodstream.Risk factors include living in parts of Africa where the disease is found and being bitten by tsetse flies. The disease does not occur in the United States, but travelers who have visited or lived in Africa can get infected. Symptoms General symptoms include:Mood changes, anxiety AnxietyGeneralized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a mental disorder in which a person is often worried or anxious about many things and finds it hard to control ...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Fever, sweating Headache Weakness WeaknessWeakness is reduced strength in one or more muscles.Read Article Now Book Mark Article Insomnia at night Sleepiness during the day (may be uncontrollable) Swollen lymph nodes all over the body Swollen lymph nodesLymph nodes are present throughout your body. They are an important part of your immune system. Lymph nodes help your body recognize and fight germ...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Swollen, red, painful nodule at site of the fly bite NoduleSkin nodules are solid or cystic raised bumps in the skin that are wider than 1 centimeter (cm), but less than 2 cm.Read Article Now Book Mark Article Exams and Tests Diagnosis is often based on a physical examination and detailed information about the symptoms. If the health care provider suspects sleeping sickness, you'll be asked about recent travel. Blood tests will be ordered to confirm the diagnosis.Tests include the following:Blood smear to check for parasites Cerebrospinal fluid tests (fluid from your spinal cord) Cerebrospinal fluid testsA cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) culture is a laboratory test to look for bacteria, fungi, and viruses in the fluid that moves in the space around the spi...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Complete blood count (CBC) Complete blood countA complete blood count (CBC) test measures the following:The number of red blood cells (RBC count)The number of white blood cells (WBC count)The tota...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Lymph node aspirationAspirationAspiration means to draw in or out using a sucking motion. It has two meanings:Breathing in a foreign object (sucking food into the airway). A medic...Read Article Now Book Mark Article Treatment Medicines used to treat this disorder include:Eflornithine (for T b gambiense only) Melarsoprol Pentamidine (for T b gambiense only) Suramin (Antrypol)Some people may receive a combination of these medicines. Outlook (Prognosis) Without treatment, death can occur within 6 months from cardiac failure or from T b rhodesiense infection itself.Cardiac failureHeart failure is a condition in which the heart is no longer able to pump oxygen-rich blood to the rest of the body efficiently. This causes symptom...Read Article Now Book Mark Article T b gambiense infection causes sleeping sickness disease and gets worse quickly, often over a few weeks. The disease needs to be treated immediately. Possible Complications Complications include:Injury related to falling asleep while driving or during other activities Gradual damage to the nervous system Uncontrollable sleep as the disease gets worse Coma When to Contact a Medical Professional See your provider right away if you have symptoms, especially if you've traveled to places where the disease is common. It is important to begin treatment as soon as possible. Prevention Pentamidine injections protect against T b gambiense, but not against T b rhodesiense. Because this medicine is toxic, using it for prevention is not recommended.Insect control measures can help prevent the spread of sleeping sickness in high-risk areas.Open ReferencesReferencesKirchhoff LV. Agents of African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness). In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 277.Petri WA. African sleeping sickness. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 325.AllVideoImagesTogRelated Information Chagas disease(Condition)Central nervous system(Special Topic)Weakness(Symptoms)Myocarditis(Condition)Heart failure(Condition)Drowsiness(Symptoms)Decreased alertness(Symptoms)Heart failure(In-Depth)Insomnia(In-Depth) Review Date: 12/24/2020 Reviewed By: Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. 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