Cases reported "Trypanosomiasis, African"

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1/3. Rhodesian trypanosomiasis in a splenectomized patient.

    We report the first apparent case of a splenectomized individual who developed severe trypanosomiasis with central nervous system involvement. The patient was a 41-year-old man who participated in an east African safari. Upon his return to the united states, the patient presented with an infection with trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense that was treated successfully with suramin and melarsoprol. The onset of symptoms, laboratory studies, and disease progression did not differ from previously reported cases in the literature. The role of the spleen in trypanosomiasis is not well understood and the few reports available describe only animal models. This report suggests that asplenia had no apparent effect on the onset of symptoms and overall severity of illness. Further studies are necessary to ultimately define the role of the spleen in trypanosomiasis.
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2/3. Difluoromethylornithine, an effective new treatment of Gambian trypanosomiasis. Results in five patients.

    Recent studies have shown DL-alpha-difluoromethylornithine (eflornithine), an inhibitor of polyamine biosynthesis, to be curative in various Trypanosoma species infections of laboratory animals. Five patients are described with Gambian trypanosomiasis treated in belgium with difluoromethylornithine, using various intravenous and oral dosage schedules. Three patients had late-stage and two had early-stage disease. Difluoromethylornithine treatment was associated with clearing of parasites from blood within one to four days, a trend towards normalization of all altered biologic values associated with the disease, and marked amelioration of clinical symptoms. Side effects of difluoromethylornithine, including loose stools in three patients and both anemia, and a decrease in auditory acuity in one patient, were mild, transient, and never required interruption of drug treatment. The presence of difluoromethylornithine in cerebrospinal fluid, determined in three patients, demonstrated that difluoromethylornithine penetrates into the central nervous system. In three patients, follow-up of at least 24 months after treatment demonstrated a continued healthy state without evidence of relapse. These promising, albeit preliminary, results of difluoromethylornithine therapy, even in patients with central nervous system involvement, indicate that extended clinical trials are warranted to determine the optimal dosage regimen in patients with early- and late-stage disease.
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3/3. Treatment of gambiense sleeping sickness in the sudan with oral DFMO (DL-alpha-difluoromethylornithine), an inhibitor of ornithine decarboxylase; first field trial.

    Difluoromethylornithine (DFMO), a specific, irreversible inhibitor of polyamine biosynthesis shown to be curative in animal models inoculated with various Trypanosoma spp., was evaluated in the Southern sudan in a preliminary open clinical field trial in patients infected with trypanosoma brucei gambiense. 20 patients were studied including 18 with late-stage disease involving the central nervous system, 16 of whom were refractory to arsenical treatment. In late-stage disease monotherapy with oral DFMO doses of about 400 mg/kg/day for five to six weeks was associated with disappearance of parasites from cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), decreased CSF WBC counts and protein concentrations and reversal of clinical signs. Side effects associated with this dose regimen included diarrhoea, abdominal discomfort and anaemia, but were seldom sufficiently severe to prompt discontinuing therapy. In early-stage patients about 200 mg/kg/day for six weeks appears adequate to eliminate parasites and reverse clinical symptoms and is well tolerated. Three cases of late-stage sleeping sickness and two of early-stage disease followed up for approximately one and a half to two years after treatment indicated that DFMO monotherapy can be curative. Additional studies are needed to define optimal posology. Inhibition of polyamine biosynthesis is a promising new approach to therapy of trypanosomiasis.
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