trypanosome

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trypanosome

(trĭp`ənəsōm'), microscopic, one-celled protozoan of the genus Trypanosoma, typically living as an active parasite in the bloodstream of a vertebrate; hundreds of species are known. A trypanosome is long and pointed and possesses a flagellum. The flagellum arises at the front, or anterior, end of the parasite and curves back to form the edge of a long, undulating membrane used in locomotion. Trypanosomes have a complex life cycle; most species undergo part of their development in the digestive tract of insects, which spread the parasite by biting.

Many trypanosomes do not appear to harm their hosts, but a number of species cause serious diseases in humans or domestic animals (see trypanosomiasistrypanosomiasis
, infectious disease caused by a protozoan organism, the trypanosome, which exists as a parasite in the blood of a number of vertebrate hosts. The three variations of the disease that predominate in humans are transmitted by an insect vector.
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). T. brucei gambiense and T. brucei rhodesiense cause African sleeping sickness and are transmitted by tsetse fliestsetse fly
, name for any of several bloodsucking African flies of the genus Glossina, and in the same family as the housefly. The larva of the tsetse fly develops inside the body of the mother until it is ready to pupate in the soil.
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. T. cruzi is the cause of Chagas' diseaseChagas' disease,
disease of South and Central America caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. It usually affects children and young adults and is transmitted by the feces of infected insects, typically the assassin bug.
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, prevalent in South and Central America, which affects the nervous system and heart; it is transmitted by the bite of assassin bugsassassin bug,
common name for members of the family Reduviidae, one of the largest and most varied groups belonging to the order Hemiptera (suborder Heteroptera). Assassin bugs are generally brownish to black, medium-sized to large insects, with heads that are elongate and
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. Other species, restricted in distribution to Africa and Asia, cause diseases of horses and cattle. Control measures include elimination or reduction of the insect carrier populations and measures to reduce the likelihood of bites.

Trypanosomes are classified in the phylum Mastigophora of the kingdom ProtistaProtista
or Protoctista
, in the five-kingdom system of classification, a kingdom comprising a variety of unicellular and some simple multinuclear and multicellular eukaryotic organisms.
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.

trypanosome

[trə′pan·ə‚sōm]
(invertebrate zoology)
A flagellated protozoan of the genus Trypanosoma.