An Appeal to Support the Education of a Needy Child at Barukh Shalom Primary School Ongata Rongai Kajiado North Kware Slums and Anti-Jigger Campaign for School Going Children at Muranga County Central Kenya
Lack of political goodwill has been one of our biggest challenges in the fight against this menace, as political leaders feel embarrassed to come out and talk about jiggers. But our partnership with the individual well wishers has been overwhelming.
Through that support, Barukh Shalom school has had the joy of seeing school children who a while ago could not walk, get back to school. So far, more than 100 school children have been treated and fully rehabilitated. In Muranga Central Kenya, About 30 schools have reported cases of jigger infestation. As we look forward to completely eradicating jiggers with the help of individuals and friends by the year 2015, plans are also underway to take jigger eradication campaigns to other primary schools soon. Galatians 6:9- 'Let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart!'
ABOUT THE JIGGER
The impregnated female Tunga embeds itself in the skin under the toenails and fingernails of man - where the resultant sores may fill with pus and become infected. Others victims can be dogs, cats, rats, pigs, cattle and sheep.
The first evidence of infestation by this sand flea is a tiny black dot on the skin at the point of penetration. Because the flea is a poor jumper, most lesions occur on the feet, often on the soles, the toe webs, and around or under the toenails. A small, inflammatory papule with a central black dot forms early. Within the next few weeks, the papule slowly enlarges into a white, pea-sized nodule with well-defined borders between 4-10mm in diameter. This lesion can range from asymptomatic to pruritic to extremely painful. Multiple/severe infestations may result in a cluster of nodules with a honeycomb appearance.
Heavy infestations may lead to severe inflammation, ulceration, and fibrosis. Lymphangitis, gangrene, sepsis, the loss of toenails, auto amputation of the digits, and death may also occur. In most cases, however, this lesion heals without further complications.
Nonetheless, the risk of secondary infection is high. Tetanus is a common secondary infection that has reported associations with death.
The sand flea is normally found in the sandy terrain of warm, dry climates. It prefers deserts, beaches, stables, stock farms, and the soil and dust close to farms.
While both male and female sand fleas intermittently feed on their warm-blooded hosts, it is the pregnant female flea that burrows into the skin of the host and causes the cutaneous lesion. She does not have any specialized burrowing organs; rather, she simply attaches to the skin by her anchoring mouth and claws violently into the epidermis. Since this process is painless, it is thought that the flea may release some keratolytic enzymes. After penetrating the stratum corneum, the flea burrows to the stratum granulosum, leaving her posterior end exposed. The "black dot" of the nodule is this posterior end of the flea sticking out. The opening provides the flea with air and an exit route for feces and eggs. With its head in the dermis, the flea begins to feed on the host's blood and enlarges up to 1cm in diameter. Over the next two weeks, over 100 eggs are released through the exposed opening and fall to the ground. The flea then dies and is slowly sloughed by the host's skin.
The eggs hatch on the ground in 3-4 days. In the next 3-4 weeks, they go through their larval and pupal stages and become adults. The complete life cycle of a Tunga penetrans lasts about a month.
For a complete eradication of the bug, their homes should be thoroughly fumigated and any animals that also have the fleas treated. To ensure that the home is bug free, the victim and the rest of the family have to be educated on the need to observe hygiene and ensure that the bugs do not find a home in their homes again.
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