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Prevalence and risk factors associated with tungiasis in Mayuge district, Eastern Uganda

Solomon Tsebeni Wafula
Charles Ssemugabo
Noel Namuhani
David Musoke
John Ssempebwa
Abdullah Ali Halage


Introduction: tungiasis is an endemic but neglected health problem in Uganda especially in resource poor communities. It is largely affecting rural communities in the Eastern, West Nile and Central regions. This study assessed prevalence and risk factors associated with tungiasis in Mayuge district, Eastern Uganda. Methods: this was a cross sectional study that used a semi-structured questionnaire and observational checklist to collect quantitative data from 422 households in 12 villages. Prevalence of tungiasis was defined as presence of Tunga penetrans in the skin of any household member at the time of data collection. Results: the prevalence of tungiasis was 22.5%. However, a big percentage 41.5% of households were reported to have had T. penetrans in the previous month while 49.5% had T. penetrans for more than one month. Majority (90.5%)of the participants used a pin, needle, or thorn to remove sand flea from infected body parts. Having dirty feet (AOR 3.86, CI (1.76-8.34)), dirty clothes (AOR 3.46, CI (2.00-5.97)), cracked house floor (AOR =6.28, CI (3.28-12.03)),dirty floor (AOR 3.21, CI (1.38-7.46)), littered compounds (AOR= 2.95, CI (1.66-5.26)) and rearing cattle (AOR 2.38, CI (1.28-4.45)) were associated with tungiasis. However, practicing preventive measures (AOR 0.51, CI (0.29-0.90)) was found protective for disease. Conclusion: tungiasis is still a prevalent health problem in rural communities in Eastern Uganda due to a number of individual (host) and environmental factors. There is need to increase awareness regarding improvement in sanitation and hygiene to enable communities' implements interventions for prevention of T. penetrans.

The Pan African Medical Journal 2016;24

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eISSN: 1937-8688