Tungiasis presenting as a soft tissue oral lesion
1 Department of Medical Microbiology, School of Biomedical Sciences, College of Health Sciences Makerere University, P. O. Box 7072, Kampala, Uganda
2 Department of Pathology, School of Biomedical Sciences, College of Health Sciences Makerere University, P. O. Box 7072, Kampala, Uganda
BMC Oral Health 2014, 14:112 doi:10.1186/1472-6831-14-112Published: 3 September 2014
The sand flea Tunga penetrans usually infects the feet and affects primary school-age children and elderly persons in rural Uganda. Tungiasis occurs nationwide but disease outbreaks have been reported in the Busoga sub-Region of eastern Uganda, associated with poor sanitation and proximity between humans and domestic animals. Ectopic tungiasis, usually seen with extensive infection and at weight-bearing body surfaces often follows exposure in highly infested environments. For patients who present abroad treatment may be surgical excision or amputation.
An adult female Musoga by tribe, resident in a Kampala City suburb presented at Mulago National Referral and Teaching Hospital’s Oral Surgery and Jaw Injuries Unit with a discoloured swollen tongue, facial cellulitis and submandibular lymphadenopathy. A swelling palpable in the body of her tongue was excised and sent for histology. Tungiasis of the tongue was diagnosed after microscopic examination of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded Haematoxylin and Eosin-stained tissue sections.
Lingual tungiasis is a rare diagnosis that was made on histological examination. Atypical presentation outside an endemic area predisposed the patient to partial glossectomy instead of the less invasive flea enucleation. Ectopic disease in a city-resident highlights the plight not only of visitors to infested areas but also of the communities and their domestic animals.