MEDICAL CONDITION: The condition depicted is known as "Tungiasis". It is an infestation of the skin by a burrowing flea called Tunga penetrans (aka: Chigoe Flea). A victim is commonly referred to as having "Jiggers." These fleas tend to infest those who have inadequate living conditions and sanitation. The flea lives both outside around warm-blooded mammals and inside poorly constructed homes. It inhabits dust on floors, cracks in walls and bedding. Shoes protect to some degree but are often not affordable or adequate. More needs to be done to ensure a jigger-free environment, including extermination and sanitation measures, improvements in home construction and making clean bedding more commonplace. Jiggers are vicious and real!
The parasites burrow into the skin and then swell up with eggs; the larvae hatch and the cycle continues. Jiggers cause untold suffering in the afflicted, interfering with sleep, and causing itching, pain and the inability to walk. The parasite can afflict all parts of the body. Victims are often socially stigmatized, left isolated and without family or communal support.