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Trypanosoma cruzi crithidia.jpg
Scientific Classification

Trypanosoma is a genus of parasitic protozoans that will infect many organisms like animals, humans and other organisms. There are two main types of trypanosomes. Trypanosoma brucei is prevalent in Africa where it is transported by the tsetse fly and causes “sleeping sickness.” Symptoms are headache, weakness, and joint pain in the initial stages; anemia, cardiovascular problems, and also kidney failure. There have been as many as 66-million people in sub-Saharan Africa that have been affected.[1] Trypanosoma cruzi is responsible for Chagas' Disease in South America.


When it was first discovered they called it a cork-screw shape organism because of the way the body looked.


Trypanosoma cruzi will reproduce inside of a white blood cell. It will take and destroy the very thin muscle fibers; also the apex is in action with the parasite to make thin myocardium. People who are infected with the virus will slowly develop an enlarged heart and become very feeble. About 16 to 18 million people have been infected, or are still infected with Chagas' disease, which can be either acute (immediately after infection) or chronic (long term debilitation). It is mostly located in South American and Central American countries.[2]

The blood stream can be the main transporter of the disease and the reproduction helper. The disease can infect more people by transfusion of one persons blood to someone else’s blood.[3]


Human cases of acute human Trypanosoma cruzi infections in the Amazon Basin

Tsetse flies are the most common transporter of Trypanosoma brucei. These tsetse flies come from Western Central Africa. They can also be found in Eastern and Southern parts of the continent.[4]

Trypanosoma cruzi was thought only to be found in Brazil and some surrounding areas around Brazil, but central and southern America have had reports that the trypanosome has been found infecting people in that area.

Signs of the Trypanosoma

When bitten you will develop a red sore, from the organism that has injected you, they call this red sore a “chancre” (SHANker)[5] Symptoms will be able to be seen within 1-4 weeks of being bitten. You might have a high fever, long painful headaches, tiredness, and weak and aching joints. You might also see yourself losing weight and shedding pounds quicker than you thought reasonable. You could also experience memory loss, and be in a state of deep confusion for a very long time. If any of these symptoms get worse it could lead to brain damage, and even death.[6]

There are some people that will be infected by the West African Trypanosoma. This disease will show symptoms between 1-2 weeks unlike the other trypanosoma, you will see fever, rash, some swelling around your eyes and ears. Some people will be so badly infected they will start growing swollen lymph glands on back side body parts.[7] You will also experience central nervous crashes, and spine nervous crashes; which could ultimately result in the victim being paralyzed for a certain period of time or even for a longer term. You may also experience stuttering in your speech, confusion, and seizures, which can also lead to long periods of time where the victim will sleep all day, but when it comes to night time they will have a much harder time trying to fall asleep. Without getting a treatment or medicine it could ultimately lead to death.[8]

Diseases caused by Trypanosoma

  • Trypanosoma cruzi: Chagas' Disease, Mainly in South America, Cardiovascular System Diseases, Animals
  • Trypanosoma brucei: Sleeping Sickness in humans in West and East Africa; Nagana in animals.



Further reading

See Also