Epidemiology of tunga penetrans infestation in selected areas in Kiharu constituency, Murang’a County, Kenya
Mwangi, Jamleck N.
Ozwara, Hastings S.
Gicheru, M. M.
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Background: Tungiasis is a parasitic skin disease brought about by female Tunga penetrans when they burrow into the skin of their hosts. It is a disease that has largely been ignored. Epidemiology of tungiasis has not been widely studied in Kenya which could negatively affect effective intervention strategies. This study therefore sought to investigate epidemiology of tungiasis in selected areas in Kiharu constituency, Murang’a County in Kenya. Methods: The study population comprised of public primary school pupils, the most vulnerable age group (n = 508) in Gaturi, Kimathi, Kahuhia and Mugoiri in Kiharu constituency. Public primary school pupils in the study area were randomly sampled. Through questionnaires and observations, data was collected. Results: The overall prevalence of tungiasis in pupils in the study area was 19.1 %. In multinomial logistic regression analysis some factors were identified to be associated with tungiasis such as lack of regular use of closed foot ware (Adjusted odds ratio = 10.45; 95 % Confidence Interval; 1.49–73.23), living in earthen mud walled houses (aOR = 13.78; 95 % CI = 3.127–60.69), sharing living quarters with domestic animals (aOR = 3.1; 95 % CI = 0.003–.046) and learning in classrooms with dusty floors (aOR = 14.657; 95 % CI = 2.262–94.95). Treatment of tungiasis was found to be mainly through mechanical removal of embedded T. penetrans. Conclusion: This study shows that tungiasis in the selected study areas of Kiharu constituency is a disease of significant health concern. Factors associated with tungiasis were identified that should be the focus of sustainable and effective control measures.