Written by Dr. Sangamithra, MBBS | 

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Ramya Ananthakrishnan, MD on Oct 12, 2020

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:

  • 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.

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.

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.


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


s127065 Thursday, February 11, 2010

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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