Seed, John Richard Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Last reviewed:February 2020
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- African trypanosomiasis
- Chagas disease
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A potentially fatal infectious disease caused by protozoan parasites of the genus Trypanosoma. Trypanosomiasis, or sleeping sickness, is the term used to describe a number of diseases affecting vertebrate animals. The causal agents of trypanosomiasis are protozoa belonging to the genus Trypanosoma (Fig. 1) that are transmitted by the bite of a tsetse fly (genus Glossina) or other insects of the Triatominae subfamily. Two disease forms affect humans—African trypanosomiasis (African sleeping sickness) and Chagas disease (American trypanosomiasis). In addition, there is a very rare type of encephalitis that is termed encephalitis lethargica or sleeping sickness; however, this form of encephalitis is unrelated to the sleeping sickness caused by trypanosomes. See also: Diptera; Medical parasitology; Parasitology; Protozoa; Trypanosomatidae
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