Fatal Trypanosomiasis in Serengeti

The ISTM/Geo Sentinel has a news release about a fatal case of African Trypanosomiasis in a tourist traveling through the Serengeti. The victim was dead 6 days after being bitten by the notorious Tse Tse Fly, carrier of “African Sleeping Sickness”.

Apparently, she was initially diagnosed, by blood smear, as a case of malaria. This delay in correct diagnosis cost valuable time and the patient died in an Intensive Care Unit in a Niarobi hospital. This is the first case of African Trypanosomiasis, in a Serengeti Tourist, since 2001.

She was reported to acquire the infection while traveling through Tanzania.

The causative agent in Sleeping Sickness is Trypanosoma Brucei Gambiense, found is Western Africa, in areas where Glossinia (tsetse) species live. T.B. Rhodsiense is found in scattered spots of Eastern Africa and more associate with sylvatic cycles involving wild deer and range animals.

Nicknamed “Sleeping Sickness”, mental status changes are common. The acute nature of the disease suggest the East African form, T.B. Rhodiense.

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