Sleeping sickness (trypanosomiasis)

Infestation with a parasite transmitted by a fly. There are two kinds: Trypanosoma gambiense (the West African variety) and Trypanosoma rhodesiense, the East African variety); Trypanosoma cruzi causes Chagas’ disease. Trypanosoma are protozoal organisms, spool-shaped, with a tail which propels them through the bloodstream and tissue of the host. They pass from a sick person to a healthy one by the tsetse fly. The parasites move through blood and lymph nodes, causing fever, oedema, swollen lymph nodes and temporary skin eruption. After this the parasites can deregulate brain function, causing disturbances in the senses, muscular movement, physical function and sleep regulation (hence the name). If the disease is not treated it is fatal in the long term, but drug treatment is completely possible.