Two-year follow-up of Trypanosoma brucei gambiense serology after successful treatment of human African trypanosomiasis: results of four different sero-diagnostic tests

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Gambiense human African trypanosomiasis (gHAT), also known as gambiense sleeping sickness, is a parasitic infection caused by Trypanosoma brucei gambiense. During the last decades, gHAT incidence has been brought to an all-time low. Newly developed serological tools and drugs for its diagnosis and treatment put the WHO goal of interruption of transmission by 2030 within reach. However, further research is needed to efficiently adapt these new advances to new control strategies. We assessed the serological evolution of cured gHAT patients over a two-year period using four different tests: the rapid diagnostic test (RDT) HAT Sero K-SeT, ELISA/T.b. gambiense, Trypanosoma brucei gambiense inhibition ELISA (iELISA), and the immune trypanolysis test. High seropositive rates were observed in all the tests, although sero-reversion rates were different in each test: ELISA/T.b. gambiense was the test most likely to become negative two years after treatment, whereas RDT HAT Sero-K-SeT was the least likely. iELISA and trypanolysis showed intermediate and comparable probabilities to become negative. Stage 1 patients were also noted to be more likely to become negative than Stage 2 patients in all four serological tests. Our results confirm previous findings that trypanosome-specific antibody concentrations in blood may persist for up to two years, implying that HAT control programs should continue to take the history of past HAT episodes into consideration.

Original languageEnglish
Article number246
JournalDiagnostics (Basel)
Issue number2
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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