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Med Monatsschr Pharm. 2009 Dec;32(12):440-4.

[Tungiasis and cutaneous larva migrans: unpleasant travel souvenirs].

[Article in German]

Author information

  • 1Institut für Mikrobiologie und Hygiene, Campus Benjamin Franklin, Charité Universitätsmedizin, Hindenburgdamm 27, 12203 Berlin.


Tungiasis (sand flea disease) and cutaneous larva migrans (creeping eruption) are parasitic skin diseases in which the infectious agents only temporarily invade human skin. The parasites die in situ and eventually are eliminated by tissue repair mechanisms. Both diseases are zoonoses. Humans only accidentally become a host for animal hookworm larvae (resulting in cutaneous larva migrans), but get infected with Tunga penetrans as frequent as domestic animals. In travelers to tropical and subtropical regions tungiasis and cutaneous larva migrans are the most common imported skin diseases. The diagnosis is made clinically. In tungiasis the clinical manifestations depend on the stage of the disease. Intense local inflammation and bacterial superinfection are common. Cutaneous larva migrans is treated orally with ivermectin or albendazole. A repellent based on coconut oil effectively prevents penetration of sand fleas.

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