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Trypanosomiasis / Sleeping sickness - Clinical features

Written by Dr. Sangamithra, MBBS | Medically Reviewed by Dr. Ramya Ananthakrishnan, MD on Oct 12, 2020
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Clinical features

One can never miss the bite of a tsetse fly, as it leaves its victims in the throes of pain. A red sore technically called as ‘Chancre’ follows. Some of the common symptoms of sleeping sickness are:

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  • Fever, severe headache, rash.
  • Irritability, swelling around the eye and hands, extreme fatigue.
  • Swollen lymph nodes on the back of the neck (Winterbottom's sign), aching muscles and joints.
  • Mood changes
  • Weight loss occurs as the illness progresses.
  • As the infection progresses, personality changes become evident and the victim appears to be confused. In addition to these symptoms, victims may experience slurring of speech, and/or seizures. Some victims portray difficulty while walking. This is especially the case when the nervous system gets affected.
  • Sleeping for long periods of the day and having sleeplessness or insomnia at night is a common symptom.

If left untreated, infection becomes worse resulting in coma. Death occurs within several weeks or months.

In case of Chagas disease the three stages have different symptoms.

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Acute stage:

  • Romana's sign (person's eye on one side of the face swells usually at the site of previous insect bite).
  • Lymphadenopathy
  • Hepatosplenomegaly
  • Fatigue
  • Fever

Symptoms last for 4 to 8 weeks and then disappear without treatment.

Intermediate stage:

During this stage, infected persons do not have symptoms. This stage lasts for many years.

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Chronic stage:

Serious symptoms occur such as

  • Cardiac problems including an enlarged heart, altered heart rate or rhythm, heart failure.
  • Enlarged esophagus could cause difficulty in swallowing. This could also lead to problems in bowel movement or constipation.

Reference:

  1. Chagas Disease - (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/chagasdisease.html)

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s127065

I thought there were also some pills to use like Soothe Mind, Neuro Natural Memory and Triple Complex Sleep Tonic for Sleeping Sickness?

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