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Differential diagnosis

None of the described symptoms are pathognomonic of Trypanosomosis.

  • Tick-transmitted infections, like anaplasmosis and babesiosis

  • Certain gastro-intestinal helminthosis (Haemonchus)

  • In general, all diseases or pathological conditions causing acute or chronic anaemia (e.g. lack or deficiency of trace elements), emaciation and loss of condition

Specimens required for diagnosis

For parasite isolation
From live animals, the parasite can be isolated from blood and lymph collected from lymph node. A blood or lymph sample of suspected infected animals can be injected in one or more laboratory animals (mouse, rat or rabbit). Thereafter, the blood of the laboratory animal(s) is examined at regular intervals for the presence of parasite.

For serology
Blood collected in plain tubes and the sera separated and tested for the presence of antibodies. The detection of antibodies indicates that there has been an infection (a contact with the parasite) but as antibodies persist for some time (weeks or months) after all trypanosomes have disappeared from the animal (e.g. following drug treatment) a positive result is no proof of active infection.

Molecular test
Sequences of nucleotides [the constituents of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), the molecules which constitutes the genes on the chromosomes in the cell nucleus] specific for the various species of trypanosomes can be detected in fluids (mainly blood) of mammalian host. These tests can only be carried out reliably in well-equipped laboratories by specifically trained staff, and are still mainly research tools.

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