Name ID 270
The arrival of the sand-flea or jigger-flea (Sarcopsylla penetrans) in Africa has been dated to 1872, when the British ship Thomas Mitchell - in ballast from Rio de Janeiro - called at the Angolan port of Ambriz. From there the insect spread rapidly across the continent, aided by the caravan traffic which brought it from one trading station to the next.A quarter of a century after its first contact with African soil, Oscar Baumann (1898) could report that the sand-flea had arrived in Zanzibar, thus completing its transcontinental move.
Hans Meyer observed the sand-flea ravages among the Masai settlers at Laitokitok on the north-eastern slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro. He called the jiggers ‘the most fearful calamity that has ever afflicted the East African peoples’ (Meyer 1900:119-20). He gave examples of people who were unable to walk and were seen crawling around on all fours groaning with unbearable pains.