Coagulation factors may be depleted in many different infections.1-3 In this country their depletion results primarily from severe bacterial infection, but in other parts of the world, where parasitic diseases are more common, it is possible that clotting factors may frequently disappear from the blood of patients with protozoal infections, as suggested by reports of intravascular coagulation in malaria.4,5 We have also observed depletion of clotting factors in a patient with African trypanosomiasis. Because there are no published descriptions of this complication of trypanosomiasis, we are reporting it to warn others of this serious problem in protozoan infections.
A 19-year-old student was admitted to University Hospital with a diagnosis of African trypanosomiasis. He was one of ten Californians on a hunting safari in East Africa arriving in Maun, Botswana (formerly Bechuanaland) on July 31, 1970. All were heavily bitten by tsetse flies and no sleeping sickness