Contributor: Gordon K. Klintworth
African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness) is a protozoal infection caused by trypanosomes of the Trypanosoma brucei group (Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense and Trypanosoma brucei gambiense). These protozoa infect humans and animals in tropical Africa and they are transmitted by blood sucking tsetse flies belonging to the genus Glossina. The disease frequently begins with a chancre at the site where the organisms are inoculated at the fly bite. Infection in East Africa with Trypanosoma bruei rhodesiense leads to an acute rapid fatal illness. In West Africa Trypanosoma brucei gambiense result in a more chronic neurologic disease that ends in coma.