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    189834
    Peer Reviewed

    The challenge of Trypanosoma brucei gambiense sleeping sickness diagnosis outside Africa. [Le défi que pose le diagnostic de la maladie du sommeil à Trypanosoma brucei gambiense en dehors de l'Afrique]

    Lejon V; Boelaert M; Jannin J; Moore A; Büscher P

    Lancet Infectious Diseases. 2003 Dec 1; 3(12):804-808.

    Sleeping sickness is a lethal African disease caused by parasites of the Trypanosoma brucei subspecies, which is transmitted by tsetse flies. Occasionally, patients are reported outside Africa. Diagnosis of such imported cases can be problematic when the infection is due to Trypanosoma brucei gambiense, the chronic form of sleeping sickness found in west and central Africa. The low number of trypanosomes in the blood and the non-specific, variable symptoms make the diagnosis difficult, particularly when the index of suspicion is low. When the trypanosomes have penetrated into the central nervous system, neuropathological signs become apparent but even at this stage, misdiagnosis is frequent. Rapid and correct diagnosis of sleeping sickness can avoid inappropriate or delayed treatment and even death of the patient. In this article, an overview on diagnosis of imported cases of T b gambiense sleeping sickness is given, and possible pitfalls in the diagnostic process are highlighted. Bioclinical parameters that should raise the suspicion of sleeping sickness in a patient who has been in west or central Africa are discussed. Techniques for diagnosis are reviewed. A clinician suspecting sleeping sickness should contact a national reference centre for tropical medicine in his or her country, or the WHO, Geneva, Switzerland, or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, GA, USA, for clinical consultation and provision of specific diagnostic tests. Appropriate drugs for sleeping sickness treatment are also provided by WHO and the CDC. (excerpt)
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