Institute of Immunology & Infection Research Seminar: Brice Rotureau (Pasteur) - When African trypanosomes make your skin crawl

  • Title:  When African trypanosomes make your skin crawl
  • When:  Thursday 28 September 2017
  • Time:  12 pm
  • Location:  Ashworth Lecture Theatre 1, Ashworth Building, King's Building's, Edinburgh, EH9 3JF
  • Speaker:  Brice Rotureau, Pasteur
  • Host: Achim Schnaufer


Trypanosoma brucei gambiense are protist parasites responsible for chronic human African trypanosomiasis (HAT) or sleeping sickness in Western Africa. Infective trypanosomes are exclusively transmitted by the bite of the tsetse fly and develop in the blood as extracellular forms. However, in recently described trypanotolerant people or during the chronic phase of an infection, the parasitemia is usually very low. Evidence for the existence of natural reservoir hosts for trypanosomes and for non-vectorial transmission routes remains scarce. Therefore, the persistence of trypanosome transmission in historical epidemiological foci remains enigmatic and may hinder WHO control programmes.

Brice will discuss studies using intravital imaging of infected mice and skin biopsies of individuals in Guinea that strongly suggest that skin-dwelling parasite populations in both patients and seropositives are likely to be responsible for the maintenance of the parasite transmission, at least in foci where no animal reservoir has been identified. He will discuss these results in terms of public health management and propose new diagnosis approaches.

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