The geographic distribution of tungiasis is poorly understood, despite the frequent occurrence of the disease in marginalized populations of low socioeconomic status. To date, little work is available to define the geography of this neglected tropical disease (NTD). This exploratory study incorporated geostatistical modeling to map the suitability for tungiasis transmission in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). In SSA, environmental suitability is predicted in 44 countries, including Angola, Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Cote de Ivoire, Mali, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Gabon, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, and South Africa. In total, an estimated 668 million people live in suitable areas, 46% (304 million) of which reside in East Africa. These evidence-based maps provide vital evidence of the potential geographic extent in SSA. They will help to guide disease control programs, inform policymakers, and raise awareness at the global level. Likewise, these results will hopefully provide decisionmakers with the pertinent information necessary to lessen morbidity and mortality in communities located in environmentally suitable areas.
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