Parasitology Research

, Volume 102, Issue 1, pp 1–13 | Cite as

Investigations on the biology, epidemiology, pathology and control of Tunga penetrans in Brazil. VI. Natural history of the infestation in laboratory-raised Wistar rats

  • Hermann Feldmeier
  • Lars Witt
  • Stefan Schwalfenberg
  • Pedro M. Linardi
  • Ronaldo A. Ribeiro
  • Raphael A. C. Capaz
  • Eric Van Marck
  • Oliver Meckes
  • Heinz Mehlhorn
  • Norbert Mencke
  • Jörg Heukelbach
Review

Abstract

Tungiasis is endemic in many countries in Latin America, the Caribbean and sub-Saharan Africa, and it is associated with severe morbidity. The pathophysiological and immunological characteristics of the ectoparasitosis are not well understood, and no effective therapy is currently available. The aim of this study was to describe the natural history of tungiasis in laboratory-raised Wistar rats. The rats were exposed in the laboratory to the parasite or were kept in a natural environment with an intense transmission of Tunga penetrans. The time course of the infestation was determined, and lesions were photographed, described clinically in detail and biopsied. Biopsies were examined histopathologically and by light and scanning electron microscopy. Based on these findings, the natural history of tungiasis in Wistar rats was described and divided in five stages. Our data show that the natural history of tungiasis in Wistar rats and humans is almost identical, except that in the animals, the basement membrane disrupts 5 days after penetration and provokes an intense infiltration of the dermis, while in humans, the basement membrane remains intact. The study indicates that the Wistar rat is an appropriate model for the study of clinical and pathological aspects of tungiasis. Using this model should enable a better understanding of the pathophysiology and immunology of the ectoparasitosis.

References

  1. Basler EA, Stephens JH, Tschen JA (1988) Tunga penetrans. Cutis 42:47–48PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Bonnet G (1880) Mémoire sur la puce pénétrante, ou chique. tungiasisGoogle Scholar
  3. Bruce CO, Knigin TD, Yolles SF (1942) A discussion of the chigoe (Tunga penetrans) based on experiences in British Guiana. Military Surgeon 82:446–452Google Scholar
  4. Burmeister H (1853) Reise nach Brasilien, durch die Provinzen von Rio de Janeiro und Minas geraës. Georg Reimer, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  5. Eisele M, Heukelbach J, van Marck E et al (2003) Investigations on the biology, epidemiology, pathology and control of Tunga penetrans in Brazil: I. Natural history of tungiasis in man. Parasitol Res 90:87–99PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Faust EC, Maxwell TA (1930) The findings of the larvae of the chigo, Tunga penetrans, in scrapings from the human skin. Arch Dermatol Syphilol 22:94–97Google Scholar
  7. Feldmeier H, Heukelbach J, Eisele M et al (2002) Bacterial superinfection in human tungiasis. Trop Med Int Health 7:559–564PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Feldmeier H, Eisele M, Saboia-Moura RC, Heukelbach J (2003a) Severe tungiasis in underprivileged communities: case series from Brazil. Emerg Infect Dis 9:949–955PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Feldmeier H, Heukelbach J, Eisele M et al (2003b) Investigations on the biology, epidemiology, pathology and control of Tunga penetrans in Brazil: III. Cytokine levels in peripheral blood of infected humans. Parasitol Res 91:298–303PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Feldmeier H, Eisele M, Van ME et al (2004a) Investigations on the biology, epidemiology, pathology and control of Tunga penetrans in Brazil: IV. Clinical and histopathology. Parasitol Res 94:275–282PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Feldmeier H, Witt LH, Schwalfenberg S et al (2004b) Investigations on the biology, epidemiology, pathology and control of Tunga penetrans in Brazil. V. Cytokine concentrations in experimentally infected Wistar rats. Parasitol Res 94:371–376PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Franck S, Feldmeier H, Heukelbach J (2003) Tungiasis: more than an exotic nuisance. Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease 1:159–166PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fülleborn F (1908) Untersuchungen über den Sandfloh. Arch Schiffs Trop Hyg 6:269–273Google Scholar
  14. Geigy R (1953) Sandfloh-Probleme. Naturwissenschaften 40:40–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Geigy R, Herbig A (1949) Die Hypertrophie der Organe beim Weibchen von Tunga penetrans. Acta Trop 6:246–262Google Scholar
  16. Geigy R, Suter P (1960) Zur Copulation der Flöhe. Rev Suisse Zool 67:206–210Google Scholar
  17. Heukelbach J (2005a) Tungiasis. Rev Inst Med Trop São Paulo 47:307–313PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Heukelbach J, de Oliveira FA, Hesse G, Feldmeier H (2001) Tungiasis: a neglected health problem of poor communities. Trop Med Int Health 6:267–272PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Heukelbach J, Wilcke T, Eisele M, Feldmeier H (2002) Ectopic localization of tungiasis. Am J Trop Med Hyg 67:214–216PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Heukelbach J, van Haeff E, Rump B et al (2003) Parasitic skin diseases: health care-seeking in a slum in north-east Brazil. Trop Med Int Health 8:368–373PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Heukelbach J, Costa AM, Wilcke T, Mencke N, Feldmeier H (2004) The animal reservoir of Tunga penetrans in severely affected communities of north-east Brazil. Med Vet Entomol 18:329–335PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Heukelbach J, Walton SF, Feldmeier H (2005) Ectoparasitic Infestations. Curr Infect Dis Rep 7:373–380PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Ibanez-Bernal S, Velasco-Castrejon O (1996) New records of human tungiasis in Mexico (Siphonaptera:Tungidae). J Med Entomol 33:988–989PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Joseph JK, Bazile J, Mutter J et al (2006) Tungiasis in rural Haiti: a community-based response. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg 100:970–974PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Joyeux C, Sicé A (1937) Précis de médecine coloniale, 2nd edn. Masson et Cte, Paris, p 441Google Scholar
  26. Lavoipierre MMJ, Radovsky FJ, Budwiser PD (1979) The feeding process of a tungid flea, Tunga monositus (Siphonaptera: Tungidae), and its relationship to the host inflammatory and repair response. J Med Entomol 15:187–217Google Scholar
  27. Linardi PM (2000) Família tungidae. In: Linardi PM, Guimaraes LR (eds) Sifonápteros do Brasil, 1st edn. Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, pp 48–53Google Scholar
  28. Muehlen M, Heukelbach J, Wilcke T et al (2003) Investigations on the biology, epidemiology, pathology and control of Tunga penetrans in Brazil II. Prevalence, parasite load and topographic distribution of lesions in the population of a traditional fishing village. Parasitol Res 90:449–455PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Nagy N, Abari E, Calheiros CM et al (2007) Investigations on the biology, epidemiology, pathology and control of Tunga pentrans in Brazil. VII Investigations on the life cycle and morphology. Parasitol Res (in press)Google Scholar
  30. Njeumi F, Nsangou C, Ndjend AG et al (2002) Tunga penetrans au Cameroun. Rev Méd Vét 153:176–180Google Scholar
  31. Rietschel W (1989) Beobachtungen zum Sandfloh (Tunga penetrans) bei Mensch und Hund in Französisch-Guayana. Tierärztl Prax 17:189–193PubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Ugbomoiko US, Ofoezie IE, Heukelbach J (2007) Tungiasis: high prevalence, parasite load and morbidity in a rural community in Lagos State, Nigeria. Int J Dermatol 46:475–481PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Up der Graff FW (1923) Head hunters of the Amazon—seven years of exploration and adventure. Garden City Publication, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  34. von Humboldt A (1981) Südamerikanische Reise. Ullstein GmbH, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  35. Witt LH, Linardi PM, Meckes O et al (2004) Blood-feeding of Tunga penetrans males. Med Vet Entomol 18:439–441PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Witt LH, Heukelbach J, Schwalfenberg S et al (2007) Infestation of Wistar rats with Tunga penetrans in different microenvironments. Am J Trop Med Hyg 76:666–668PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hermann Feldmeier
    • 1
  • Lars Witt
    • 1
  • Stefan Schwalfenberg
    • 1
  • Pedro M. Linardi
    • 2
  • Ronaldo A. Ribeiro
    • 3
  • Raphael A. C. Capaz
    • 3
  • Eric Van Marck
    • 4
  • Oliver Meckes
    • 5
  • Heinz Mehlhorn
    • 6
  • Norbert Mencke
    • 7
  • Jörg Heukelbach
    • 8
  1. 1.Institute of Microbiology and Hygiene, Campus Benjamin FranklinCharité University MedicineBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Department of ParasitologyFederal University of Minas GeraisBelo HorizonteBrazil
  3. 3.Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, School of MedicineFederal University of CearáFortalezaBrazil
  4. 4.Department of Pathology, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of AntwerpAntwerpBelgium
  5. 5.Eye of Science, GbRReutlingenGermany
  6. 6.Department of Zoology and ParasitologyHeinrich-Heine-UniversityDüsseldorfGermany
  7. 7.Bayer Health Care AGAnimal HealthLeverkusenGermany
  8. 8.Department of Community Health, School of MedicineFederal University of CearáFortalezaBrazil

Personalised recommendations