Trypanosoma brucei evansi, a widely distributed species of trypanosome infecting different livestock species in many countries in Africa, Asia and South America, has recently been reported as a pathogen causing a case of human trypanosomiasis in India. To date, there is little information regarding the natural resistance of animal-infective stocks of T. b. evansi to normal human serum (NHS). In this study, we investigated the degree of sensitivity to NHS of 15 stocks of T. b. evansi from different geographical origins and found that 10 of the stocks were completely susceptible to the action of NHS; parasites disappeared from the blood of infected mice within a few hours and the mice remained free from infection for more than 1 month. The remaining five stocks were partially resistant to NHS; although parasites initially disappeared from the circulation more than 50% of the mice showed relapse infection 10-18 days later. Studies on one stock, T. b. evansi STIB 810, showed that the changes in parasitaemia in the infected mice were correlated with the amount of NHS inoculated (correlation factor -0.584 and P=0.001). When this stock was passaged 25 times in mice in the presence of NHS it was found that the trypanosomes' serum resistance increased compared with the parent stock from which they were derived; 40% of the passaged parasites survived after in vitro incubation with 50% NHS for 7h, while only 1% of individual trypanosomes of the parent stock survived under the same conditions. These findings show, to our knowledge for the first time, that human serum sensitivity varies amongst stocks of T. b. evansi, that some of them naturally display resistance to NHS and that, furthermore, T. b. evansi serum resistance can be increased by sub-passage in the presence of NHS.