Investigate the different parts of the human immune system

 Parasitemia level vs. time


Page 4“African Illness” by Kevin M. Bonney

Questions 1. Investigate the different parts of the human immune system and explain which cells/products of innate and

adaptive immunity are responsible for recognizing antigens on the surface of T. brucei and clearing the parasite.

2. What would happen if T. brucei suddenly loss the ability to undergo antigenic variation?

3. If researchers developed a drug that could prevent T. brucei from undergoing antigenic variation, do you think it could be successful in eradicating African Sleeping Sickness? Would the drug have to be administered at a certain point before or after infection in order to be helpful?

4. Based on the similarities and differences you identified earlier between T. brucei, P. falciparum, and T. cruzi, do you predict that P. falciparum and T. cruzi undergo similar antigenic variation? Why or why not?


Page 5“African Illness” by Kevin M. Bonney


Image of African mask in title block © Mcsxp74 | , ID# 19806652. Case copyright held by the National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, University at Buffalo, State University of New York. Originally published June 21, 2012. Please see our usage guidelines, which outline our policy concerning permissible reproduction of this work.

Part IV – Public Health Campaign In addition to the extensive toll on human life, African trypanosomes also cause a widespread and devastating disease in livestock cattle called Nagana. Nagana causes three million cattle deaths per year, which amount to a loss of $4 billion a year to struggling African economies. Because there is no effective vaccine against African trypanosomes, the most effective way to prevent the spread of the disease is through multi-faceted public health campaigns directed at eliminating parasite contact through other means.

Design a public health campaign to dramatically reduce or eradicate African trypanosomiasis in both humans and cattle from a community in Africa. In your plan, include strategies to stop the spread of African trypanosomes, as well as ways to educate the public and local governmental and health agencies so that this information can be disseminated and implemented.

References Internet Sites Parasites—African Trypanosomiasis, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Trypanosomiasis, African, World Health Organization (WHO). Stamp Out Sleeping Sickness. Image of T. brucei trypomastigotes, image ID #10167, from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).