Trypanosomiasis in India

An Indian newpaper, http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1139181, ran a story about some new cases of trypanosomiasis reported in parts of Maharashtra including Mumbai. This parasitic infection is not normally found in India and is actually an infection from Central Africa. You may have heard of this disease under another name…African Sleeping Sickness.

Three people have been diagnosed with this disease in 2007, including one fatality. The parasite is known to effect cattle and medical teams are investigating as to why the trypanosomes are now infecting humans.

African Trypanosomiasis is a parasitic disease, generally spread by the bite of an infected Tse Tse Fly. Symptoms include lethargy, fever and neurologic symptoms such as difficulty walking. Oddly, none of the cases reported in India have suffered from neurologic symptoms, which are a trademark of this illness.

Maharashtra has arranged for the IV form of Suramin, the treatment for sleeping sickness, to be available.

There are speculations that a possible new vector is responsible for transmission.

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