Vietnam’s first case of sleeping sickness detected in human

The first case of Human African trypanosomiasis (also known as sleeping sickness)  in the country was recorded in the Tropical Disease Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, announced the hospital on April 20.

The 38 year old patient from the southern province of Dong Nai’s Vinh Cuu District gets the Human African trypanosomiasis (also known as sleeping sickness) which is a vector-borne parasitic disease.

Before, the woman suffered high fever for a long time without clear reason and she was taken into the Provincial General Hospital.

However, her condition was not improved; accordingly she was transferred to the Tropical Disease Hospital as she experienced fever, headache, and joint pains.

Test results showed that she was suffering damage in liver, kidney, and blood cells reduction. Through investigation, the woman is a worker in Dong Nai. When she came back her hometown in the highlands province of Dak Lak, she contacted with cattle in her neighbor.

Her condition abated after she received intensive treatment in the hospital and she was discharged; however, she must visit the hospital for follow-up examination periodically.

The hospital will coordinate with experts from Oxford University and preventive medicine doctors and vets to further study this case.

Dr. Nguyen Van Vinh Chau, head of the Tropical Disease Hospital, said that the disease usually occurs in cattle for years; however, it rarely sees on human and the case is the first in the country.  Trypanosoma infection patients will suffer complications in digestive systems, heart problems and oesophagus hypertrophic. They even can die of the disease abruptly due to heart failure.

The Human African trypanosomiasis is a vector-borne parasitic disease, caused by infection with protozoan parasites belonging to the genus Trypanosoma. They are transmitted to humans by tsetse fly (Glossina genus) bites which have acquired their infection from human beings or from animals harbouring the human pathogenic parasites.

By Tuong Lam – translated by Uyen Phuong

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