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    A white-yellowish, small (4 mm in diameter) nodule with a notable central pigmented ring was observed on the right forefinger. Multiple eggs were deposited below this lesion and great toe (arrowheads).

  • View in gallery

    Dermoscopic image of the nodule and extraction of the jigger flea (Tunga penetrans) with a sterile needle. (A) The flea with its white-yellowish abdomen enlarged markedly to ∼4 mm in size with eggs; (B) lateral view of the head and abdomen of the flea; (C) frontal view of the head of the flea; (D) posterior abdomen of Tunga penetrans (arrowheads) with a central pigmented ring (arrow) that corresponds to the pigmented chitin surrounding the posterior opening of the exoskeleton .

  • 1.

    Heukelbach J, Oliveira FA, Hesse G, Feldmeier H, 2001. Tungiasis: a neglected health problem of poor communities. Trop Med Int Health 6: 267272.

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    • Export Citation
  • 2.

    Lefebvre M, Capito C, Durant C, Hervier B, Grossi O, 2011. Tungiasis: a poorly documented tropical dermatosis. Med Mal Infect 41: 465468.

 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Periungual Tungiasis in the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe

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  • Institute of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, College of Public Health, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China; Infectious Diseases Research and Education Center, Department of Health, Executive Yuan and National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China; Taiwan Anti-malaria Advisory Mission in the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Taiwan, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China; Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China

A healthy 26-year-old Taiwanese man working in the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe in West Africa presented with a brownish lesion on the medial edge of his right third toe (Figure 1). Examination found multiple eggs of sand flea Tunga penetrans (white arrowhead in Figure 1) after applying lateral pressure. After the excision of the embedded jigger flea from the brownish lesion (Figure 2), he recovered completely. Endemic is in sub-Saharan Africa, Caribbean region, Latin America, and the subtropical regions of Asia.1 Tungiasis is an ectoparasitosis involved in the periungual regions of the skin burrowed by the female sand flea2; the infestation usually occurs over unprotected feet. The lesion contained hindquarters of the dead female sand fleas, which deposit hundreds of eggs in the skin tissues (Figure 2), and can become the source of bacterial superinfection. Early recognition and excision is curative.

Figure 1.
Figure 1.

A white-yellowish, small (4 mm in diameter) nodule with a notable central pigmented ring was observed on the right forefinger. Multiple eggs were deposited below this lesion and great toe (arrowheads).

Citation: The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 86, 5; 10.4269/ajtmh.2012.11-0724

Figure 2.
Figure 2.

Dermoscopic image of the nodule and extraction of the jigger flea (Tunga penetrans) with a sterile needle. (A) The flea with its white-yellowish abdomen enlarged markedly to ∼4 mm in size with eggs; (B) lateral view of the head and abdomen of the flea; (C) frontal view of the head of the flea; (D) posterior abdomen of Tunga penetrans (arrowheads) with a central pigmented ring (arrow) that corresponds to the pigmented chitin surrounding the posterior opening of the exoskeleton .

Citation: The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 86, 5; 10.4269/ajtmh.2012.11-0724

  • 1.

    Heukelbach J, Oliveira FA, Hesse G, Feldmeier H, 2001. Tungiasis: a neglected health problem of poor communities. Trop Med Int Health 6: 267272.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 2.

    Lefebvre M, Capito C, Durant C, Hervier B, Grossi O, 2011. Tungiasis: a poorly documented tropical dermatosis. Med Mal Infect 41: 465468.

Author Notes

*Address correspondence to Jih-Ching Lien, Taiwan Anti-malaria Advisory Mission in the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Taiwan, No. 9, Lane 136, Chungching North Road Section 3, Taipei City, Taiwan, Republic of China. E-mail: jclien1217@gmail.com

Authors' addresses: Kun-Hsien Tsai and Chi-Tai Fang, Institute of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, College of Public Health, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China, E-mails: kunhtsai@ntu.edu.tw and fangct@ntu.edu.tw. Jih-Ching Lien, Taiwan Anti-malaria Advisory Mission in the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Taiwan, Taipei City, Taiwan, Republic of China, E-mail: jclien1217@gmail.com.

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