African trypanosomiasis laboratory findings

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-In-Chief: Pilar Almonacid, Jesus Rosario Hernandez, M.D. [2]

Overview

The diagnosis of African trypanosomiasis rests on demonstrating trypanosomes by microscopic examination of chancre fluid, lymph node aspirates, blood, bone marrow, and cerebrospinal fluid in the late stages of infection.

Laboratory Findings

The diagnosis of African trypanosomiasis rests on demonstrating trypanosomes by microscopic examination of chancre fluid, lymph node aspirates, blood, bone marrow or, in the late stages of infection, in cerebrospinal fluid.

Blood smear

Microscopy Findings
African trypanosomiasis
African trypanosomiasis 5
  • Parasite exhibiting division (on right).

Electrolyte and biomarker studies

  • Serology is not usually helpful in acute disease.
  • Detection of anti-trypanosomal IgG antibodies is helpful in detection of African trypanosomiasis infections.
  • Three serological tests are available for detection of the parasite:
    • Micro-CATT (uses dried blood)
    • wb-CATT (uses whole blood)
    • wb-LATEX (uses whole blood)
  • wb-CATT is the most efficient test for diagnosis, while wb-LATEX is a better exam for situations in which greater sensitivity is required.[1]
  • Detection of antibodies among infants may be difficult due to the presence of maternal antibodies early following birth. Accordingly, serologic testing for infants is only recommended at least 9 months after birth.

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References

  1. Truc P, Lejon V, Magnus E; et al. (2002). "Evaluation of the micro-CATT, CATT/Trypanosoma brucei gambiense, and LATEX/T b gambiense methods for serodiagnosis and surveillance of human African trypanosomiasis in West and Central Africa". Bull. World Health Organ. 80 (11): 882–6. PMC 2567684. PMID 12481210.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 "Public Health Image Library (PHIL)".

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