Brooke, M. M. Formerly, Licensure and Development Branch, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Public Health Service, Atlanta, Georgia.
Stunkard, Horace W. American Museum of Natural History, New York, New York.
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A family of Protozoa, order Kinetoplastida, containing flagellated parasites which change their morphology; that is, they exhibit polymorphism during their life cycles. The life cycles of the organisms may involve only an invertebrate host, or an invertebrate and a vertebrate host, or an invertebrate and a plant host. Several distinct morphological forms are recognized: trypanosomal, crithidial, leptomonad, and leishmanial. Differentiation into genera is dependent upon the host infected as well as the morphologic types involved. None of the stages possesses a mouth opening, and nutritive elements are absorbed through the surface of the body; that is, the organisms are saprozoic. Figure 1 illustrates the morphologic stages and the hosts of the genera.
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