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A patient in the Democratic Republic of Congo receiving treatment for stage 2 sleeping sickness.

All persons diagnosed with African Trypanosomiasis should receive treatment. The specific drug and treatment course will depend on the type of infection (T. b. gambiense or T. b. rhodesiense) and the disease stage (i.e. whether the central nervous system has been invaded by the parasite). Pentamidine, which is the recommended drug for first stage T. b. gambiense infection, is widely available in the U.S. The other drugs (suramin, melarsoprol, eflornithine, and nifurtimox) used to treat African trypanosomiasis are available in the U.S. only from the CDC. Physicians can consult with CDC staff for advice on diagnosis and management and to obtain otherwise unavailable treatment drug.

There is no test of cure for African trypanosomiasis. After treatment patients need to have serial examinations of their cerebrospinal fluid for 2 years, so that relapse can be detected if it occurs.

More on: Resources for Health Professionals: Treatment