Human African trypanosomiasis: a review of non-endemic cases in the past 20 years.Int J Infect Dis. 2011 Aug; 15(8):e517-24.IJ
Human African trypanosomiasis (HAT) is caused by sub-species of the parasitic protozoan Trypanosoma brucei and is transmitted by tsetse flies, both of which are endemic only to sub-Saharan Africa. Several cases have been reported in non-endemic areas, such as North America and Europe, due to travelers, ex-patriots or military personnel returning from abroad or due to immigrants from endemic areas. In this paper, non-endemic cases reported over the past 20 years are reviewed; a total of 68 cases are reported, 19 cases of Trypanosoma brucei gambiense HAT and 49 cases of Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense HAT. Patients ranged in age from 19 months to 72 years and all but two patients survived. Physicians in non-endemic areas should be aware of the signs and symptoms of this disease, as well as methods of diagnosis and treatment, especially as travel to HAT endemic areas increases. We recommend extension of the current surveillance systems such as TropNetEurop and maintaining and promotion of existing reference centers of diagnostics and expertise. Important contact information is also included, should physicians require assistance in diagnosing or treating HAT.