Q:

What are jiggers?

A:

Quick Answer

Jiggers, also known as chigoe fleas, are parasites found in tropical and subtropical areas. They live in sand and soil and feed on the blood of warm-blooded hosts such as livestock and humans.

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Full Answer

A female jigger burrows into a host’s body through an exposed skin area such as the foot, and leaves the tip of its abdomen exposed so that it can breathe and defecate. Within two weeks after invading the host, the jigger produces dozens of eggs that eventually drop to the ground to hatch, after which the jigger dies. Jiggers can cause severe irritation and inflammation and can lead to secondary bacterial infections, toe deformation and nail loss.

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