Trypanosoma cruzi is a protozoan parasite that causes American trypanosomiasis or Chagas' disease. Chagas' disease is a major cause of cardiac and gastrointestinal disease in endemic areas of Mexico, and Central and South America. The infection is usually vector-borne but can also be acquired by other modalities such as blood transfusion. This parasite invades any nucleated cell, but the cells of the cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, reticuloendothelial, and autonomic systems are most commonly involved. The disease is divided into acute, indeterminate, and chronic phases. Chronic Chagas' disease may be associated with a dilated cardiomyopathy and/or megasyndromes involving hollow organs such as the gastrointestinal tract. Treatment with available drugs is not efficacious. Human African sleeping sickness is caused by infection with the parasites Trypanosoma brucei gambiense and T. b. rhodesiense. This disease is vector-borne and invades the central nervous system (CNS). Whereas T. b. gambiense causes a chronic disease, infection with T. b. rhodesiense results in an acute fulminant systemic and CNS disease. Efficacious treatment is available. There are no vaccines available for any of the infections caused by organisms that belong to this genus.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)