Gambiense Human African Trypanosomiasis sequelae after treatment: a follow-up study 12 years after treatment

Junior Mudji, Anna Blum, Leticia Grize, Rahel Wampfler, Marie-Therese Ruf, Lieselotte Cnops, Beatrice Nickel, Christian Burri, Johannes Blum

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The clinical presentation of Human African Trypanosomiasis (HAT) due to Trypanosoma brucei gambiense is well known, but knowledge on long-term sequelae is limited. In the frame of studies conducted between 2004 and 2005 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the prevalence of HAT related signs and symptoms were evaluated before the start of treatment and at the end of treatment. To explore possible long-term sequelae, the same clinical parameters were assessed in 2017 in 51 first stage and 18 second stage HAT patients. Signs and symptoms 12-13 years after treatment were compared to before and immediately after treatment and to controls matched for sex and age (+/- 5 years). In first stage HAT patients, the prevalence of all signs and symptoms decreased compared to before treatment but were still higher after 12-13 years than immediately at the end of treatment and in the control group. In second stage HAT patients, all HAT-specific findings had continuously decreased to the point where they were in the range of the healthy control group. In a selection of oligosymptomatic first stage HAT patients, no trypanosomes were detected in the blood by microscopic examination or PCR. An oligosymptomatic presentation of HAT due to the persistence of parasites in compartments, where first stage HAT medications do not penetrate, could not be ruled out.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10
JournalTropical Medicine and Infectious Disease
Issue number1
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • human African trypanosomiasis
  • sequelae
  • serology
  • treatment
  • oligosymptomatic HAT


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