Atypical human infections by animal trypanosomes

P. Truc, P. Büscher, G. Cuny, M.I. Gonzatti, J. Jannin, P. Joshi, P. Juyal, Z.R. Lun, R. Mattioli, E. Pays, P.P. Simarro, M.M. Teixeira, L. Touratier, P. Vincendeau, M. Desquesnes

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The two classical forms of human trypanosomoses are sleeping sickness due to Trypanosoma brucei gambiense or T. brucei rhodesiense, and Chagas disease due to T. cruzi. However, a number of atypical human infections caused by other T. species (or sub-species) have been reported, namely due to T. brucei brucei, T. vivax, T. congolense, T. evansi, T. lewisi, and T. lewisi-like. These cases are reviewed here. Some infections were transient in nature, while others required treatments that were successful in most cases, although two cases were fatal. A recent case of infection due to T. evansi was related to a lack of apolipoprotein L-I, but T. lewisi infections were not related to immunosuppression or specific human genetic profiles. Out of 19 patients, eight were confirmed between 1974 and 2010, thanks to improved molecular techniques. However, the number of cases of atypical human trypanosomoses might be underestimated. Thus, improvement, evaluation of new diagnostic tests, and field investigations are required for detection and confirmation of these atypical cases.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Issue number9
Pages (from-to)e2256
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Animal diseases
  • Zoonoses
  • Atypical
  • Trypanosomiasis
  • Trypanosoma brucei brucei
  • Trypanosoma vivax
  • Trypanosoma congolense
  • Trypanosoma evansi
  • Trypanosoma lewisi
  • Case reports
  • Identification
  • Detection
  • Microscopy
  • Evaluation
  • Serology
  • Polymerase chain reaction
  • PCR
  • Immunity
  • Africa-General
  • Asia-South
  • Asia-Southeast

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