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Rev Inst Med Trop Sao Paulo. 2005 Nov-Dec;47(6):307-13.


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Department of Community Health, School of Medicine, Federal University of CearĂ¡, Brazil.


Tungiasis is a neglected parasitic skin disease caused by the permanent penetration of the female sand flea (also called jigger flea) Tunga penetrans into the skin of its host. After penetration, most commonly on the feet, the flea undergoes an impressing hypertrophy, and some days later the abdominal segments of the flea have enlarged up to the size of about 1 cm. The flea infestation is associated with poverty and occurs in many resource-poor communities in the Caribbean, South America and Africa. In this review, a historical overview on tungiasis is given. The natural history, pathology, epidemiology, diagnosis, therapy and control of the parasitic skin disease are discussed. It is concluded that tungiasis is an important parasitosis causing considerable morbidity in affected populations. Future studies are needed to increase the knowledge on the biology, pathophysiology, epidemiology, therapy and control of the ectoparasite.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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