Hello #Stemsocial platform! It's another day to share with you health challenges that affects predominantly Africans and has devastating effects on the productivity of an individual or group of individuals in Sub-saharan Africa. Good morning!
Sleep is a natural cure for stress and other inbuilt diseases that are present in our bodies. Sleeping excessively without control isn't good at all, because it takes one's productive time. This kind of sleep is called Trypanosomiasis known as sleeping sickness in Africa.
African Trypanosomiasis is a parasitic disease caused by parasite of genus Trypanosoma and could be found in 36 sub-Saharan African countries. It's transmitted by infected tsetse flies and without treatment the disease is considered fatal. The disease is common to both animals and humans.
Causes of Sleeping Sickness
- The human African Trypanosomiasis comes in two different forms, depending on the subspecies of the parasite involved. Trypanosoma brucei gambiense accounts for more than 95% of reported cases.
- The second form is Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense found in only 13 countries in eastern and southern Africa. It account for just 3% of reported cases and cause an acute infection. The remaining 2% of reported cases is found in Latin America known as American Trypanosomiasis or Chagas disease.
- The major human epidemics of the disease occurred between 1896 and 1906, mostly in Uganda and Congo Basin and in 1920 in a number of African countries and in most recent times it started in 1970 and lasted until the late 1990s.
Signs and Symptoms of Trypanosomiasis
First stage or haemolymphatic? phase:
Shortly after the metacyclic trypomastigotes enter the body and multiply under the skin an inflammatory reaction occurs. This causes swelling of the skin and enlargement of the lymph nodes in the neck. This immune response? results in symptoms such as fever, headaches, joint pains and itching.
Since everyone's body system reacts different, the symptoms comes in different formats and stages. To some it starts with a feverish shacking, while others begin to experience extreme fatigue. The issues of extreme fatigue develops into constant desire to sleep regularly even during work periods.
At the extreme levels the symptoms experienced are progressive confusion, personal changes and neurologic problems occur after infection has invaded the central nervous system. Once the sickness enters the central nervous system and nothing is done to treat it, it could lead to death.
Since there's no already developed vaccine for Human Africa Trypanosomiasis, it's very difficult to prevent being infected by tsetse fly, so prevention depends on one's precautionary measures ranging from:
- wearing long shirts and trousers.
- wearing clothes in neutral colours as tsetse flies are attracted to bright colours
- avoiding bushes where the tsetse fly rest during the hottest part of the day as they will bite if disturbed
Treating Trypanosomiasis solely depends on when the disease is discovered and at the early stage it's easier to cure. The following are used to treat sleeping sickness:
At the first stage of infection injections are administered to victims and at this stage the sickness gradually disappear. Drugs used at the first stage are Pentamidine for Trypanosoma brucei gambiense, while Suramin is used to treat Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense.
- Once in the second stage of the disease, when the parasite has crossed the blood-brain barrier, treatment becomes much more aggressive with more toxic drugs needed to kill the parasite. These drugs are also more complicated to administer, usually requiring several weeks of drugs being given intravenously (directly into the veins). Drugs used for the second stage include: Melarsoprol and Eflornithine, which served as anti-cancer drug.