Jigger flea infestation (tungiasis) in rural western Tanzania: high prevalence and severe morbidity

H D Mazigo, E Bahemana, E T Konje, O Dyegura, L L Mnyone, E J Kweka, B R Kidenya, J Heukelbach
Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 2012, 106 (4): 259-63
Epidemiologic and clinical data on the parasitic skin disease tungiasis are limited from sub-Saharan Africa, and virtually nonexistent from the East African region. We performed a community-based cross-sectional study in two villages in Kasulu district, western Tanzania. Study participants were examined for the presence of tungiasis and disease-associated morbidity. In total, 586 individuals >5 years of age were enrolled, and 249 (42.5%; 95% CI: 38.5-46.5) diagnosed with tungiasis. The ≥45 year-olds showed highest prevalence of tungiasis (71.1%) and most severe parasite load (median number of embedded fleas: 17.5; interquartile range: 15-22.5). Prevalence was slightly, but not significantly, higher in males than in females (45.3 vs 39.7%; p=0.17). Itching (68.3%), pain (38.6%) and ulcers (30.1%) were common; 22.1% of individuals found it difficult to walk due to tungiasis, and in 21.3% loss of toenails was observed. Considering the high prevalence and considerable morbidity in the population, we conclude that tungiasis is a public health threat in the study villages and that the disease needs to be recognized by health authorities. Future studies on risk factors, animal reservoirs and evidence-based control measures are needed.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"

We want to hear from doctors like you!

Take a second to answer a survey question.