African Sleeping Sickness Symptoms

By on July 26, 2013

African Sleeping Sickness SymptomsAfrican sleeping sickness, Congotrypanosomiasis, or African trypanosomiasis is a very common disease in some African region. This disease can be spread by the infected tsetse fly, which is found in the rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa.

Every year almost 10,000 new cases are reported to the WHO. This disease can be cured with medications, but it can be worse if left as untreated. In certain cases, it may also cause death if left untreated.

The African sleeping sickness symptoms may associate with some other health problems, so it could be tough to identify the actual cause behind those symptoms. Consult the physician for proper diagnosis if you found that you have those symptoms.

African sleeping sickness symptoms include:

Symptoms could be minor in the beginning stage of disease. African trypanosomiasis has three symptomatic stages, and the last one is the most dangerous stage, which will eventually cause death if left untreated.

Usually symptoms appear from 3 days to few weeks after the infected tsetse fly bite, and they may include:

  • Weight loss
  • Irritability
  • Severe Headache
  • Loss of Concentration
  • Seizures
  • Slurred Speech
  • Difficulty talking and walking
  • Insomnia in night
  • Progressive confusion
  • High Fever
  • Rashes
  • Painful chancre at site of infected tsetse fly bite
  • Coma
  • Somnolence
  • Abnormal behavior and confusion
  • Lockouts

African sleeping sickness symptoms that occur within 1 to 4 weeks of infection are nonspecific and they may include severe skin lesions, edema, swollen lymph nodes, rash, fever, and fatigue.

After passing many weeks this infection progresses into the meningoencephalitis, which will cause infection in brain, surrounding fluid and spinal cord.

In the second stage of this disease parasites may infect the patient’s central nerve system, which result in irreversible neurological damage manifested by sleeping disturbances and also cause coma and death. This is known as the neurological phase.

Disturbance of the sleep cycle is important among the African sleeping sickness symptoms in the second stage of this disease.

If this disease diagnosed and treated earlier, then chances are great for recovery. Diagnosis of this disease can be made by microscopic examination of lymph and blood to know the presence of the trypanosomes and cerebrospinal fluid to know the white blood cell levels.

Consult the doctor as soon as you suspect this disease. She or he will recommend several tests in order to find the parasites. Spinal tap and blood sample testes are common tests. As this infection is very rare, consulting your physician in early stage can be helpful.

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