Tungiasis: a neglected health problem of poor communities
Tungiasis is caused by the flea Tunga penetrans. Growing urbanization, improved housing and use of appropriate footwear presumably have led to an overall reduction of the occurrence of this ectoparasitosis within the last decades. However, it is still highly prevalent where people live in extreme poverty, occurring in many Latin American and African countries. Although the infection has long been known, data on the ectoparasite’s biology and the epidemiology of the disease are scant. Methods for treatment, prevention and control have never been evaluated in a scientific manner. Tungiasis remains an important public health problem for the very poor, a problem neglected by those who are affected, by the medical profession and by the scientific community.