Here we see a 13 year old boys feet. He has a problem with mata-canha. On his left foot second toe you can see a flat spot and the fourth toe on the right foot is the same. This was caused by a tiny flea burrowing under the skin and laying its eggs, when the eggs grow the skin swells like a boil until the eggs hatch leaving an open wound that attracts a new flea to enter. You need to dig out the flea and the egg sac (without breaking the sac) and put an antiseptic in the wound. Many non-Africans believe it is a worm in the foot but the locals call it a polga which is the word for flea. I have studied the ones I have seen and they are right - it is a very small sand flea it is also known as the jiggers flea.
Our neighbours had a huge problem when the mother couldn't walk because she had over 20 mata-canha fleas in her feet and both children also had very sore feet. I was in the house for 15 minutes and when I got home we killed five fleas before I sprayed fly spray on my legs and feet. The neighbours ended up moving out of the house as they felt there was a curse on the house. We still often see them as they have only moved a short distance and they have no more problems with mata-canha.
I have had three taken out of my feet as wearing shoes overcomes the threat. Gabi and Thomas always wear shoes outside and have not had a problem.