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Third World doctor carrying out a lumbar puncture

Third World doctor carrying out a lumbar puncture

M490/0032

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Credit

A. CRUMP, TDR, WHO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY A. CRUMP, TDR, WHO / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Lumbar puncture. Third World doctor carrying out a lumbar puncture on a woman. He will check the spinal fluid that drains into the sample tube he is holding for signs of the parasitic protozoan Trypanosoma sp., the cause of African sleeping sickness (trypanosomiasis). In a lumbar puncture, a hollow needle is inserted into the lower part of the spinal canal. Trypanosoma sp. are passed onto humans by infected blood-sucking tsetse flies, (Glossina sp.) when they feed. The protozoa infect the blood, lymph nodes, heart and brain causing a fever. Nervous system damage leads to lethargy and tremors. Without treatment, fatal heart or brain damage results. Photographed in Uganda.

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