Sunday, October 8, 2017

Attack of the skin-burrowing parasitic nigua: A post for Columbus Day

My first blog post in many months!  Much has been happening with the project, but I thought I would share an event that happened last Spring in the Amazon.  The topic, a very small parasitic insect in the flea family.

I was walking up the ramp-stairs to my neighbor's house when his children looked at my big toe in my sandaled foot.  They all stopped talking and looked at each other.  I though, "What's up with that?"  Then came the start of my education about the nigua, also know as Tunga penetrans.

The first sign that something was up.

First I asked around and found out that I had a parasite living in and feeding on the blood in my toe.  They called it a nigua.  They said it would grow larger and release larvae worms, which would then come out of my toe.  They said that I must dig it out with a needle.  I chose to cut it out with a scalpel, which was less painful and destructive to my skin.

Here are the pictures!

The initial cut.

All larvae must be removed.

When no more larvae are found and the blood starts to slightly flow
the nigua is gone!

After the surgery with my medical assistant Jason.

Click on the link to see what happens in untreated cases!

And why this post around Columbus Day?

"The first European description (of Tunga Penetrans) was published in 1526 by Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés,[13] where he discussed the skin infection and its symptoms on crew members from Columbus’s Santa Maria after they were shipwrecked on Haiti.[14] Through ship routes and further expeditions, the chigoe flea was spread to the rest of the world, particularly to the rest of Latin America and Africa. Wikipedia

Just one more contribution by Columbus!

No comments:

Post a Comment