The key difference between Trypanosoma cruzi and brucei is that Trypanosoma cruzi is the causative agent of South American trypanosomiasis or Chagas’ disease, while Trypanosoma brucei is the causative agent of African trypanosomiasis or sleeping sickness.
Trypanosoma cruzi and Trypanosoma brucei are two types of parasitic protozoa that cause trypanosomiasis in humans. Trypanosomiasis is a disease found in vertebrates due to parasitic protozoan trypanosomes of the genus Trypanosoma. In humans, there are two types of trypanosomiasis as Chagas’ disease (South American trypanosomiasis) and African sleeping sickness (African trypanosomiasis). In the case of Chagas’ disease, a bug called “triatomine” introduces the protozoan parasite into a human. On the other hand, a fly called “tsetse” introduces African trypanosomiasis, causing protozoan parasites in humans. Furthermore, a number of other diseases occur in other animals due to species in the genus Trypanosoma.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Trypanosoma Cruzi
3. What is Trypanosoma Brucei
4. Similarities – Trypanosoma Cruzi and Brucei
5. Trypanosoma Cruzi vs Brucei in Tabular Form
6. Summary – Trypanosoma Cruzi vs Brucei
What is Trypanosoma Cruzi?
Trypanosoma cruzi is a species in the genus of Trypanosoma. It is responsible for the inflammatory, infectious disease in humans called Chagas’ disease. This parasitic species is usually found in the feces of triatomine bugs or kissing bugs. Chagas’ disease is more common in areas such as South America, Central America, and Mexico, which are the primary home for triatomine bugs. Rare cases of this disease can be observed in the Southern United States. Moreover, the infected triatomine bug defecates after feeding and leaves behind the parasite (Trypanosoma Cruzi) on the human skin. The parasite can then enter the human body through eyes, a cut, or scratch, or a wound from a bug’s bite.
The acute phase symptoms of this disease include swelling in the infection site, fever, fatigue, rash, headache, swollen glands, nausea, diarrhea, and enlargement of the liver and spleen. The chronic phase symptoms may include irregular heartbeat, heart failure, sudden cardiac arrest, difficulty in swallowing due to enlarged esophagus, and stomach pain due to enlarged colon. The Chagas’ disease caused by Trypanosoma cruzi can be diagnosed through an electrocardiogram, chest X-ray, echocardiogram, and upper endoscopy. The acute phase treatment includes killing the protozoan through drugs such as benznidazole and nifurtimox. The chronic treatments include pacemakers or devices to control the heart rhythm, surgery for heart, heart transplant and diet changes, medications, corticosteroids, or surgery for digestive tract-related issues.
What is Trypanosoma Brucei?
Trypanosoma brucei is the causative agent of African sleeping sickness (African trypanosomiasis). This parasitic species also belongs to the genus Trypanosoma. It is transmitted by the tsetse fly (Glossina species) that is found in sub-Saharan Africa. There are two morphologically indistinguishable subspecies that cause African sleeping sickness. One subspecies is Trypanosoma brucei gambience, which causes slowly progressing African trypanosomiasis in Western and Central Africa. The other one is Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense, which causes more acute African trypanosomiasis in Eastern and Southern Africa. During blood meals on the mammalian host, the infected tsetse fly injects this parasitic protozoan into the human skin through saliva. The parasite enters the lymphatic system and passes into the bloodstream, which causes characteristics symptoms. At the sites of fly bite, one can observe “chancre” an indurated red nodule accompanied by enlarged lymph nodes. The other common symptoms may include severe headache, personality changes, weight loss, swollen lymph nodes, extreme fatigue, irritability, loss of concentration, progressive confusion, slurred speech, seizures, difficulty in walking and talking, sleeping for a long period of the day, and insomnia at night.
African sleeping sickness that is caused by Trypanosoma brucei can be diagnosed through light microscope detection of the parasite, concentration techniques, and serial examinations for blood, serological testing, and CSF testing. Treatment includes the killing of parasites through drugs such as pentamidine, suramin, melarsoprol, eflornithine, and nifurtimox.
What are the Similarities Between Trypanosoma Cruzi and Brucei?
- Trypanosoma cruzi and brucei are two types of parasitic protozoa that cause trypanosomiasis.
- Both species cause infections in humans.
- They enter the human body through the skin.
- They belong to the genus Trypanosoma.
- The symptoms that are caused by both species can be controlled by antiparasitic drugs.
What is the Difference Between Trypanosoma Cruzi and Brucei?
Trypanosoma cruzi is the causative agent of South American trypanosomiasis or Chagas’ disease, while Trypanosoma brucei is the causative agent of African trypanosomiasis or sleeping sickness. Thus, this is the key difference between Trypanosoma cruzi and brucei. Furthermore, the vector for Trypanosoma cruzi is triatomine bug, while the vector for Trypanosoma brucei is tsetse fly.
The below infographic presents the differences between Trypanosoma cruzi and brucei in tabular form for side by side comparison.
Summary – Trypanosoma Cruzi vs Brucei
Trypanosomiasis is a disease caused by parasitic protozoan trypanosomes of the genus Trypanosoma. Trypanosoma cruzi and brucei are two types of parasitic protozoa that cause trypanosomiasis in humans. Trypanosoma cruzi is the causative agent of South American trypanosomiasis or Chagas’ disease, while Trypanosoma brucei is the causative agent of African trypanosomiasis or sleeping sickness. So, this summarizes the difference between Trypanosoma cruzi and brucei.
1. “Trypanosoma cruzi life cycle” By Kárita C. F. Lidani, Lorena Bavia, Altair R. Ambrosio and Iara J. de Messias-Reason – Frontiersin.org (CC BY 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Trypanosoma brucei” By Johannahoog – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia