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Current status of the knowledge on the epidemiology of tungiasis in the Americas.

Objectives: To present the state-of-the-knowledge on the epidemiology of tungiasis in the Region of the Americas.

Methods: A search of publications on the epidemiology of tungiasis in the Americas was performed in PubMed and LILACS databases from January 2007 to June 2021. In addition, a manual literature search on articles on the epidemiology of tungiasis was performed.

Results: A total of 83 articles were analyzed which contained relevant information on tungiasis cases and their geographical distribution, prevalence and risk factors, life cycle, sites where transmission takes place, and zoonotic aspects. The on-host and off-host life cycles have been researched in detail. In certain contexts, the whole life cycle is completed indoors enabling transmission around the whole year. Cases were reported from 10 countries; 71% of them were from Brazil. In the general population, the prevalence varied between 1.0% and 82.6% according to the settings. Age-specific prevalence indicated that children and the elderly bear the highest disease burden. Risk factor studies indicate that tungiasis is associated with severe poverty.

Conclusions: In the Americas, there are important gaps in information and knowledge of tungiasis. Understanding the burden, epidemiology, distribution, magnitude, related risk factors, and reservoirs, among others, is needed to develop and implement integrated control measures tailored to the context and patterns of transmission in the affected communities.

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