Tungiasis in rural communities of Badagry Local Government Area, Lagos State, Nigeria

  • O.A. Otubanjo
  • E.T. Idowu
  • I.K. Fagbohun
  • N.E. Okorie
  • B.I. Oke


An epidemiological study was conducted to determine the prevalence and risk factors to tungiasis amongst 1,030 randomly selected individuals in rural communities of Badagry Local Government Area of Lagos State, Nigeria. Hands, feet, elbows and other parts of the body were examined for the presence of clinical signs of tungiasis and the number and location of lesions were recorded. The study also assessed the respondent’s knowledge, attitude and practices to tungiasis amongst the randomly selected individuals. Socio-demographic profile of respondents revealed 40.7% were between 20-39 years, and 10% were elderly (>60 years), 78.8% of the sampled population were from Egun ethnic group and 26.6% of the sampled population were farmers. The clinical symptoms observed ranges from itching and oedema to desquamation of skin and loss of toenails. In total, 293 (28.4%) individuals were infested and there was no significant difference in the prevalence of infection between males and females (p<0.05), while age-group 0-9 years had the highest prevalence of infection (81.1%) (p>0.05). A total of 2,515 lesions were observed, out of which 1,660 were located on the toes and 808 on the sole of the feet. The most important risk factors identified were respondents not using footwear regularly, and living in sandy-floored rooms. Knowledge about the etiology of tungiasis and its transmission was high in surveyed communities, 97.8% of the surveyed population indicated to have experienced tungiasis at least once in their lifetime. Transmission of tungiasis was thought to be majorly related to the presence of local pigs (61.2%), sandy soil (39.6%), dirty environment (26.1%) and fish scales (8.6%). Surgical extraction of embedded sand fleas using unsterile needles, blades or any sharp object (61.5%) and application of kerosene (paraffin) (51.7%) were the most common treatment applied. Targeted health education and intervention measures addressing the associated risk factors need to be implemented in communities with high disease burden.

Keywords: Neglected tropical disease; risk factors; knowledge and treatment practices


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eISSN: 1596-972X