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

Mazigo, H.D., Bahemana, E., Konje, E.T., Dyegura, O., Mnyone, L.L., Kweka, E.J., Kidenya, B.R., and Heukelbach, J. (2012) Jigger flea infestation (tungiasis) in rural western Tanzania: high prevalence and severe morbidity. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 106 (4). pp. 259-263.

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Abstract

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.

Item ID: 22148
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 0035-9203
Keywords: tungiasis, prevalence, morbidity, Africa, Tanzania
Date Deposited: 28 Jun 2012 15:50
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1108 Medical Microbiology > 110803 Medical Parasitology @ 34%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111706 Epidemiology @ 33%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified @ 33%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920506 Rural Health @ 33%
92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920404 Disease Distribution and Transmission (incl. Surveillance and Response) @ 34%
92 HEALTH > 9201 Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) > 920109 Infectious Diseases @ 33%
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