Volume 72, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


Tungiasis (caused by the sand flea ) is hyperendemic in many resource-poor communities in Brazil. To understand transmission dynamics of this parasitic skin disease in a typical endemic area, a longitudinal study was carried out in a slum in Fortaleza in northeastern Brazil. In a door-to-door survey, the population of a randomly selected area (n = 1,460) was examined on four occasions for the presence of embedded sand fleas. Prevalence rates were 33.6% in March (rainy season), 23.8% in June (end of the rainy season), 54.4% in September (peak of the dry season), and 16.8% in January (begin of the rainy season). Tungiasis was more common in males than in females. The intensity of infestation was correlated with the prevalence. The study shows that prevalence of tungiasis and parasite burden vary significantly during the year with a peak in the dry season. These findings have important consequences for the design of control measures.


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  • Received : 07 Jun 2004
  • Accepted : 21 Jul 2004

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