Anaemia in human African trypanosomiasis caused by Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense

J. E. Chisi*, H. Misiri, Y. Zverev, A. Nkhoma, J. M. Sternberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To find out if indeed anaemia is'a major sign in human trypanosomiasis caused by Trypanosoma brucei rhodensiense. Design: A one year cross-sectional study of all admitted and surveyed Trypanosoma brucei rhodensiense infected patients (June 2001-June 2002) Setting: Nkhotakota District Hospital-Central Region of Malawi. Results: After survey and investigations, 28 patients (16 males and 12 females) were admitted to Nkhotakota District Hospital with a parasite positive Trypanosoma brucei rhodensiense infection. Twenty four (85.7%) of them were anaemic. Their mean haemoglobin was 8.96 ± 3.07 g/dl compared to controls that had a mean haemoglobin concentration of 12.17 ± 1.35 g/dl (p < 0.000001, 95% CI -4.342 to -2.0785) (n = 45). None of the trypanosomiasis infected individuals had schistosomiasis or hookworms. Two patients had malaria. One of them was an 18-year-old pregnant woman with hepatosplenomegaly, who developed ante partum haemorrhage. She was jaundiced and had haemoglobin of 10 g/dl. She died after two weeks following the diagnosis and treatment. The other was a two-year-old girl who had haemoglobin of 8.4 g/dl. She also had hepatosplenomegaly. All the other patients looked well nourished with no other signs of chronic diseases. Hepatosplenomegaly was significantly related to the severity of illness (p = 0.011) but not to anaemia. Conclusion: Though basic, this study has shown that anaemia is indeed a complication of human Africa trypanosomiasis caused by Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense. There is need for further investigation to investigate the type of anaemia that is caused by this disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)505-508
Number of pages4
JournalEast African Medical Journal
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2004


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