Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 32586
Jigger Flea (Tunga penetrans) Infestations and Use of Soil-Cow Dung-Ash Mixture as a Flea Control Method in Eastern Uganda

Authors: Gerald Amatre, Julius Bunny Lejju, Morgan Andama


Despite several interventions, jigger flea infestations continue to be reported in the Busoga sub-region in Eastern Uganda. The purpose of this study was to identify factors that expose the indigenous people to jigger flea infestations and evaluate the effectiveness of any indigenous materials used in flea control by the affected communities. Flea compositions in residences were described, factors associated with flea infestation and indigenous materials used in flea control were evaluated. Field surveys were conducted in the affected communities after obtaining preliminary information on jigger infestation from the offices of the District Health Inspectors to identify the affected villages and households. Informed consent was then sought from the local authorities and household heads to conduct the study. Focus group discussions were conducted with key district informants, namely, the District Health Inspectors, District Entomologists and representatives from the District Health Office. A GPS coordinate was taken at central point at every household enrolled. Fleas were trapped inside residences using Kilonzo traps. A Kilonzo Trap comprised a shallow pan, about three centimetres deep, filled to the brim with water. The edges of the pan were smeared with Vaseline to prevent fleas from crawling out. Traps were placed in the evening and checked every morning the following day. The trapped fleas were collected in labelled vials filled with 70% aqueous ethanol and taken to the laboratory for identification. Socio-economic and environmental data were collected. The results indicate that the commonest flea trapped in the residences was the cat flea (Ctenocephalides felis) (50%), followed by Jigger flea (Tunga penetrans) (46%) and rat flea (Xenopsylla Cheopis) (4%), respectively. The average size of residences was seven squire metres with a mean of six occupants. The residences were generally untidy; with loose dusty floors and the brick walls were not plastered. The majority of the jigger affected households were headed by peasants (86.7%) and artisans (13.3%). The household heads mainly stopped at primary school level (80%) and few at secondary school level (20%). The jigger affected households were mainly headed by peasants of low socioeconomic status. The affected community members use soil-cow dung-ash mixture to smear floors of residences as the only measure to control fleas. This method was found to be ineffective in controlling the insects. The study recommends that home improvement campaigns be continued in the affected communities to improve sanitation and hygiene in residences as one of the interventions to combat flea infestations. Other cheap, available and effective means should be identified to curb jigger flea infestations.

Keywords: Cow dung-soil-ash mixture, infestations, Jigger flea, Tunga penetrans.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 793


[1] Sentongo, E. and H. Wabinga, Tungiasis presenting as a soft tissue oral lesion. BMC oral health, 2014. 14(1): p. 112.
[2] Mutebi, F., et al., Animal reservoirs of zoonotic tungiasis in endemic rural villages of Uganda. PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 2015. 9(10): p. e0004126.
[3] Jawoko, K., Jiggers outbreak in Uganda. 2011, Can Med Assoc.
[4] Wafula, S. T., et al., Prevalence and risk factors associated with tungiasis in Mayuge district, Eastern Uganda. The Pan African medical journal, 2016. 24.
[5] Feldmeier, H., et al., Bacterial superinfection in human tungiasis. Tropical Medicine & International Health, 2002. 7(7): p. 559-564.
[6] Namuhani, N. and S.N. Kiwanuka, Jigger Persistence and Associated Factors among Households in Mayuge District, Uganda. International Journal of Health Sciences and Research (IJHSR), 2016. 6(1): p. 376-386.
[7] Diamond, J., Factors controlling species diversity: overview and synthesis. Annals of the Missouri botanical Garden, 1988: p. 117-129.
[8] Ansari, M. and R. Razdan, Operational feasibility of malaria control by burning neem oil in kerosene lamp in Beel Akbarpur village, District Ghaziabad, India. Indian journal of malariology, 1996. 33(2): p. 81-87.
[9] Peterson, C. and J. Coats, Insect repellents-past, present and future. Pesticide Outlook, 2001. 12(4): p. 154-158.
[10] Seyoum, A., et al., Traditional use of mosquito-repellent plants in western Kenya and their evaluation in semi-field experimental huts against Anopheles gambiae: ethnobotanical studies and application by thermal expulsion and direct burning. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 2002. 96(3): p. 225-231.
[11] Munabi, C., F. Kansiime, and A. Amel, Variation of water quality in Kakira catchment area, Jinja–Uganda. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, Parts A/B/C, 2009. 34(13): p. 761-766.
[12] Quan, J., Land tenure, economic growth and poverty in sub-Saharan Africa. Evolving land rights, policy and tenure in Africa., 2000: p. 31-50.
[13] Richardson, B., Big Sugar in southern Africa: rural development and the perverted potential of sugar/ethanol exports. The Journal of peasant studies, 2010. 37(4): p. 917-938.
[14] Lwanga, F., et al., Food security and nutritional status of children residing in sugarcane growing communities of east-central Uganda: a cross-sectional study. Journal of Food Security, 2015. 3(2): p. 34-39.
[15] Jean, W. G., et al., Efficacy of diatomeacous earth and wood ash for the control of Sitophilus zeamais in stored maize. J Entomol Zool Stud, 2015. 3: p. 390-397.
[16] Kimani, B., J. Nyagero, and L. Ikamari, Knowledge, attitude and practices on jigger infestation among household members aged 18 to 60 years: case study of a rural location in Kenya. The Pan African Medical Journal, 2012. 13(Suppl 1).