What is African Sleeping Sickness

african sleeping sickness
Tsetse fly

What is African sleeping sickness?

African sleeping sickness also called African trypanosomiasis is a parasitic disease of humans and many other animals, African sleeping sickness is caused by an insect thus making it an insect borne illness which is caused by a tsetse fly carrying the African trypanosomiasis parasites. The tsetse flies are commonly found in the sub-Saharan Africa especially in Democratic republic of Congo and is greatly responsible for causing African trypanosomiasis .

These flies when infected by either Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense or Trypanosoma brucei gambiense parasite becomes a part in the African sleeping sickness parasite’s lifecycle. There are many reported cases of
African trypanosomiasis and mostly in rural areas caused by an infected tsetse fly bite

African Sleeping Sickness Transmission

African sleeping sickness is caused by an infected tsetse flies (big brown fly) that is a host to the parasite itself. The fly pierces the skin tissue when it bites and the parasite enters the lymphatic system and later passes into the bloodstream from there. African trypanosomiasis can also rarely occur by organ transplant, blood transfusion & from mother to unborn child during pregnancy or at the time of delivery.

Also Read: Prevention of Malaria – Fight Malaria Symptoms


African Sleeping Sickness Symptoms

Symptoms includes

Stage one:

  • Headaches
  • Joint Pain
  • Itching
  • Intermittent Fever

Stage two: (when the parasite invades the CNS (central nervous system)

  • Disruption of the sleep cycle (It gave the name sleeping sickness)
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Apathy
  • Psychotic reactions
  • Irritability

African Sleeping Sickness Treatment

Treatment of African trypanosomiasis is available but is highly dependent on the stage of the illness present. Intravenous of intramuscular are used for the treatment of the disease, pentamidine for gambiense and Suramin for rhodesiense parasite.

Travelers Risk

The risk of acquiring African trypanosomiasis for travelers is quite low but be careful when living or staying in the rural areas of the sub-Saharan Africa or where there is some thick vegetation present. Visitors in the city are usually not at risk of the African sleeping sickness infection.

Also Read: The Flesh-Eating Botflies

African Sleeping Sickness Prevention

Now we that African sleeping is caused by an infected tsetse fly so lets talk about how to prevent it.

  • Avoid bushes and plants at day time as its when the tsetse fly rest on the plants.
  • The tsetse fly is very attracted to bright colors so avoid wearing bright colors.
  • Must wear insect repellent However there is not much proof that insect repellent works with tsetse flies.
  • Stay and live places that are fully air conditioned.
  • The tsetse flies are also attracting to moving objects so be sure to check your vehicles.

Worms in dogs Symptoms Causes and Treatment

worms in dogs
Photo by Daniel Cano on Unsplash

A Man’s Best Friend

When we hear the phrase “a man’s best friend” what comes to most people’s mind are… You’ve guessed it!  Dogs. It doesn’t matter if they are big or small these domesticated mammals are considered by most as a part of their families.  Dogs were the first animal to be domesticated by humans and were bred from wolves for a long time.

Dogs have pack mentality and are famous for their loyalty that’s why dogs are used to help many humans in work and some are kept as pets my people around the world. Their lifespan depends on the breed and the size of the breed as seen smaller dogs tent to live longer than the bigger ones. Although dogs are colorblind but they have a magnificent sense of smell and can also hear a lot better than us.




Parasites in Dogs 

Just like any other living creature there are various parasites can infect dogs such as mites, fleas, worms, and other parasitic organisms. Worms in dogs and other parasites found in dogs are listed below:

Acomatacarus

Adeleorina 

Ancylostoma caninum

Brucella canis

Capillaria aerophila

Capillaria feliscati

Capillaria plica

Cat flea

Cheyletiella

Dermacentor variabilis

Cheyletiella yasguri

Dipylidium caninum

Dirofilaria immitis

Dog flea

Dirofilaria repens

Echinococcus

Echinococcus granulosus

Echinococcus multilocularis

Flea

Hookworm infection

Necator americanus

Neospora

Rhipicephalus sanguineus

Sarcoptes scabiei

Thelazia callipaeda

Toxocara canis

Trichodectes canis

Trichuris vulpis

What Causes Worms in Dogs

Dogs usually get infected by parasitic worms by either through air, by mouth, eating infected food such as rodents or through skin contact when the parasite or its larvae burrow through its hosts skin. Parasite larvae or/and eggs are almost always present in the infected dogs feces and can be deadly for humans as well as for younger children.

Roundworms in Dogs

Roundworms are a nematode worm which lives inside its host’s small intestine and can be found in many environments around the world. Roundworms infection in dogs occurs when a dog eats infected food or drink infected water. Roundworms are also present in the soil and can be found in the feces. Roundworms in dogs also pose a possible infection threat to the dog’s owners.

Also Read How to Tell if you have Pinworms

Hookworms in Dogs

Hookworms are blood feeding parasitic worms which live in the intestine of mammals such as humans but it also infects dogs. It feeds on the blood of its host by attaching its hook like mouth in the wall of the gut and punctures the tissues in order to feed.

Whipworms in Dogs

Whipworms (Trichuris trichiura) are whip shaped parasites known to infect domestic animals such as dogs and/or cats and children. It is an infection of the large intestine and is commonly found in hot and humid climates. Whipworm infection occurs when a possible host ingests water or soil contaminated by whipworm parasite.

Heartworms in Dogs

Heartworms or dog heart worms (Dirofilaria immitis) are thread-like tiny worms that are transmitted when a mosquito carrying the parasite bites the possible host. Mosquitoes play an important role in the life cycle of dog heartworms as they carry these tiny parasites from one host to another.

Canine Tapeworm

Canine tapeworm infection (Dipylidium caninum)  is the most commonly found parasitic infection in cats and dogs. These are intestinal worms and feeds by attaching their mouth to the wall of the small intestine just like hookworms does. The adult canine tapeworm can reach approximately 8inches in length. Dogs can only get infected by these parasites by ingesting a flea carrying canine tapeworms. Canine tapeworms depends on the fea in order to complete it’s life cycle Therefore one should make sure there are not any feas present on our canine friend.

Commonly these tapeworms are not deadly but heavy infestations can cause serious health issues if left untreated. If your dog is scooting (itching its rear on the ground) it’s time for a vet visit.

White Worms in Dog Poop

Occasionally dog owners may find small white worms in dogs poop, it is an oblivious sign the dog is infected with a parasitic worms. Worms might look white, brown or tan can be large or smaller like rice or noodle and can be segmented, it all depends on the type of worms that are present in the stool of the infected pet. Such parasitic worms can also be seen sticking near the genital area of the infected dog. Make sure to get your beloved dog checked by the vet as soon as possible and try to keep your pet flea free in order to avoid such parasitic worm’s infections. Humans can also get infected by round worms so avoid any contact with the infected dog’s feces in order to avoid getting round worms.

Worms in Dogs Symptoms

Signs of worms in dogs include:

•             Dull fur coat

•             Diarrhea

•             Not enough energy

•             Vomiting

•             Coughing

•             Weight loss

•             Itching

•             Skin irritation

•             Worms in stool, vomit or fur

•             Scooting (rubbing its genitals on the ground)

If any of the worms in dogs symptoms occurs be sure to consult your vet at all cost in order to avoid any further damage to the dogs internal organs before it’s too late as heavy number of worms inside the dog can result in some serious health issues and even death. Ask the vet to prescribe any worm and flea prevention medication if it need be.



Can Humans Get Worms from Dogs

Such parasitic worms can also infect humans if contracted from contaminated feces or soil and ingested by adults or children and even when an infected pet dog licks the human as dogs tend to eat their feces occasionally. Once infection occurs the parasitic worms can cause some very severe damage to various organs inside its human host such as lungs, eyes, heart and brain. Neurological signs might start to appear in the infected human host due to worms being present or trying to make their way in to the brain.

Worms in Dogs Treatment

Worms in dog’s treatment is possible and there are various medicines you’re treating vet can prescribe in order to treat the infected dog successfully. Few worms in dogs medicine that the vet may prescribe are as follows:

Piperazine

Piperazine simply paralyzes the worms so all the worms present can pass through the stool. It is prescribed for the treatment of pinworms and common round worms. (Please consult your treating physician before taking poperazine).

Fenbendazole

Fenbendazole is used to treat intestinal parasites such as common tapeworms, hookworms, whipworms and roundworms in pets. (Please consult your veterinarian).

Milbemycin

Milbemycin oxime is a prescription drug and is used to treat various parasitic worm infections in cats and dogs such as roundworms, hookworms and whipworms. (Please consult your veterinarian).

Pyrantel

Pyrantel is an anti-worm drug used for treating parasitic worm infection such as hookworms and roundworms infection as it  interferes with the worms process of multiplying inside the host. (Please consult your veterinarian).

Moxidectin

Moxidectin is a also an anti worms medication used specifically in animals in order to control various parasitic intestinal worms infections and heartworm infection. (Please consult your veterinarian).