Sleeping Sickness Essay

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Imagine you have just returned from a safari to Africa. You soon develop a fever, swollen lymph nodes, and as time goes on you begin to have trouble sleeping. Eventually you cannot stay awake during the day or sleep at night, you begin to lose coordination, and if left untreated you could go into a coma and die within six months. While in Africa, you contracted African Trypanosomiasis, better known as sleeping sickness. You contracted this disease from one of the smallest animals you encountered on your safari, the tsetse fly. The tsetse fly carries a parasitic protest known as trypanosoma brucei that causes sleeping sickness. The tsetse fly has helped spread this disease throughout sub-Saharan Africa causing outbreaks that have ravaged…show more content…
The disease can be either chronic of acute spending on which type of trypanosome is present. Infections involving trypansoma brucei gambiense cause the slow onset of chronic trypanosomiasis (West African sleeping sickness) while infections involving trypansoma brucei rhodesiense cause the fast onset of acute trypanosomiasis (East African sleeping sickness). But what exactly are trypanosomes and how do they cause this harm on the body? Trypanosomes are unicellular parasitic flagellate protozoans. Trypanosomes enter the cell by active transport or the host cell phagocytizes them. The trypanosomes trigger an immune response and the body begins to produce antibodies to fight the virus. The parasite then randomly switched the VSG protein that is expressed on its surface so that it can evade the immune response, but the cell is still attacked and may burst due to swelling. As the cells and tissues are continually damaged, the organs are scarred causing them to lose much of their functionality. As organs are harmed, entire organ systems are crippled causing major problems in the body. As mentioned earlier, the cause of sleeping sickness is a protozoa parasite carried by the tsetse fly. The tsetse flies become infected with the trypanosomes after feeding on the blood of an infected human or animal. The trypanosomes multiply and reside in the saliva and gut of the fly. The fly then bites another human, and its saliva can infect the
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