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July 2014

Tungiasis: “The Greatest Curse That Has Ever Afflicted Africa”

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Pathophysiology and Transplantations, University of Milan, IRCCS Foundation, Cà Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, Milan, Italy
JAMA Dermatol. 2014;150(7):708. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2014.176

Because of air travel, diseases formerly restricted to tropical and subtropical areas may also now be observed in countries with temperate climates. Among these diseases, one often underrecognized by Western dermatologists is tungiasis, an infestation caused by penetration in the skin of the gravid female of the flea Tunga penetrans.1,2 This infestation occurs in poor communities in South America and Africa and sporadically affects travelers to endemic areas. Medical entomology claims that the South American continent was its original site.

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