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New insight into sleeping sickness suggests communication between parasites that cause infection could affect the severity and spread of the disease.
When two types of sleeping sickness parasite infect the same animal at the same time, signalling between the species appears to help them compete with – or manipulate – one another.
Disease - Spread - Infections - Scientists
This can make them more able to cause disease or spread to bring about further infections, scientists say.
This behaviour could impact on current and future incidences of the potentially fatal disease, the findings suggest.
Species - Signalling - Example - Disease
A parasite species that is made more virulent by competitive signalling may, for example, then spread to cause severe disease.
The findings may offer a new pathway to tackling the disease, which is spread by the bite of the tsetse fly.
Sickness - Threat - Health - Parts - Sub-Saharan
Sleeping sickness poses a major threat to human health in parts of sub-Saharan Africa and causes major livestock losses.
Researchers from the University of Edinburgh studied two species of trypanosome parasites.
Animals - Species - Humans
Both can co-infect animals at once, and one of the species can infect humans.
Communication between the species – most likely by production of biochemical signals – may aid their survival by helping them to control their numbers.
It may help optimise their ability to spread, without...
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