Sleeping Sickness

Sleeping Sickness Meaning

“Sleeping Sickness or African trypanosomiasis is a parasitic disease that is caused by the parasite named Trypanosoma brucie.”

What is Sleeping Sickness?

Sleeping sickness is a tropical disease that can prove fatal if not treated properly. It spreads through the bite of the Tsetse fly, a species that is native to the African continent. The people living in the rural parts of Africa are more at risk of contracting this disease.

The fly bite develops into a red sore and the person soon experiences fever, muscle and joint ache, swelling in the lymph glands, irritation and headache.

In advanced stages, the disease attacks the central nervous system and people experience changes in personality, alteration in the biological clock, difficulty in walking and talking, seizures, and difficulty in speaking. It these problems are not treated for a longer period of time, the person dies.

Also Read: Acute and Chronic Diseases

Sleeping Sickness
Sleeping Sickness Causes

The two parasites named Trypanosoma brucie gambiense and Trypanosoma brucie rhodesiense cause this disease. These parasites are present in the flies like the Tsetse fly that is mainly involved in transmitting the disease. When this fly bites the humans, the infection spreads throughout the body through the blood.

These parasites can also transfer the placenta and can be transmitted through the mother to the child.

Contaminated needles are also responsible for spreading the disease.

Symptoms of Sleeping Sickness

A lot of changes occur in the body after the infection. Few symptoms of sleeping sickness are listed below:

  • An unclear speech.
  • Seizures.
  • Irritation.
  • Swelling of the brain.
  • Swelling of the lymph nodes.
  • Causes weakness in the body.
  • Feeling of sleeplessness.
  • Severe sweating.
  • Formation of red sores on places of infection.
  • Severe fever conditions.
  • Mood changes.
  • Skin Rashes.
  • Severe headaches.
  • Develop severe pain in the joint.
  • Personality changes.
  • Feel difficulty in walking and etc.

Sleeping Sickness Prevention

Early recognition of the disease might help to avoid the difficulty and major risks. Some of the prevention and treatment measures include:

  • Early treatment of the infected persons, including the person showing no symptoms.
  • Using insecticides to protect oneself against the bite of Tsetse fly.
  • By maintaining clearings around the villages and also residential areas.
  • Use of repellents or fly traps to stay away from the flies.

Also Read: Infectious Diseases

For more detailed information on sleeping sickness – diseases, its meaning, causes, symptoms and prevention, keep visiting BYJU’S website or download BYJU’S app for further reference.


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