Some patients can become asymptomatic carriers of African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness).

Features of an asymptomatic carrier:

(1) The patient is asymptomatic.

(2) The patient may have a past history of a clinical episode consistent with sleeping sickness with recovery.

(3) The patient shows evidence of African trypanosomiasis (trypanosomes in peripheral blood smear, positive PCR, etc.)

(4) The patient has a past history of exposure to a region endemic for African trypanosomiasis.

(5) Exclusion of recent exposure to African trypanosomiasis.


Asymptomatic carriers have been identified in association with:

(1) sexual transmission of African trypanosomiasis

(2) congenital transmission of African trypanosomiasis

(3) blood transfusion


People who have been identified as carriers:

(1) expatriates of an endemic country

(2) soldiers formerly stationed in an endemic country


In theory an asymptomatic carrier can become a source for spread outside of an endemic area if a suitable vector is present.

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