Trends in parasitology vol:21 issue:7 pages:316-21
After 100 years of research, only a small number of laboratory strains of Trypanosoma equiperdum exists, and the history of most of the strains is unknown. No definitive diagnosis of dourine can be made at the serological or molecular level. Only clinical signs are pathognomonic and international screening relies on an outdated cross-reactive serological test (the complement-fixation test) from 1915, resulting in serious consequences at the practical level. Despite many characterization attempts, no clear picture has emerged of the position of T. equiperdum within the Trypanozoon group. In this article, we highlight the controversies that exist regarding T. equiperdum, and the overlap that occurs with Trypanosoma evansi and Trypanosoma brucei brucei. By revisiting the published data, from the early decades of discovery to the recent serological- and molecular-characterization studies, a new hypothesis arises in which T. equiperdum no longer exists as a separate species and in which current strains can be divided into T. evansi (the historical mistake) and Trypanosoma brucei equiperdum (the master of disguise). Hence, dourine is a disease caused by specific host immune responses to a T. b. equiperdum or T. evansi infection.