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Volume 17, Number 5—May 2011

Historical Review

Evidence of Tungiasis in Pre-Hispanic America

Vicente MacoComments to Author , Manuel Tantaleán, and Eduardo Gotuzzo
Author affiliations: Author affiliations: Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, New York, USA; and Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru

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Table 1

Sources of written evidence of tungiasis in pre-Incan times*

Reference Type of publication Original language Term for Tunga spp. Chapter or article name and pages
Guaman Poma de Ayala, 1615/1616 Manuscript† Spanish Pique niua Primer Capítvlo d los Ingas: Armas Propias. Milagro de Dios: p. 95
(16) Thesis French Chique, nigua, seccec Chapitre II. Du Pulex penetrans, Chique ou Nigua: pp. 62–113
(17) Monograph French Chique, seccec Introduction: p. 2
Paul Groult, 1870 Journal French Seccec Les parasites extérieurs de l’homme (Suite): p. 6
(20) Thesis Spanish Pique, nigua, huchhuy piqui p. 202
(21)‡ Journal English None An Ancient Peruvian Effigy vase exhibiting disease of the foot. Plate XLV: p. 730
(22)‡ Journal English Piquinosis Utosic syphilis and some other things of interest to paleo-American medicine, as represented on huacos potteries of Old Peru: By Albert S. Ashmead, M.D., of Canadensis, Pennsylvania (First Part). Fig. XIII: p. 336. Idem (Fourth part): p. 490
(12) Journal English Nigua New Observations in Paleopathology: p. 246
(23)‡ Journal English Sandflea, nigua Studies in Paleopathology: The diseases of the Ancient Peruvians, and some account of their surgical practices. Fig. 73-B: p. 216
(24)‡ Book English Sandflea, nigua Chapter XV. Diseases of Ancient Peruvians. Plate CXIII (c): p. 532–533
(25)‡ Journal Spanish Parásitos Arte Antiguo Peruano Tecnología y Morfología. Album fotográfico de las principales especies arqueológicas de la Cerámica Muchik existentes en los Museos de Lima. Primera Parte. Tecnología y Morfología: plate 65
(26)‡ Book French Piqui, piques Chapitre premier. Le Mal et les guérisseurs. Les causes des maladies. Fig. 14: p. 44
(27) Book Spanish Huchuy piqui, nigua, pique Volumen 1. La Medicina Incaica. Capitulo XVI. Las Enfermedades: p. 159
(13) Book English Piqui, sand flea The Knowledge of parasites. Pre Columbian America - Peru: p.2. Treatment and prevention of parasitic diseases. I. External treatment: p. 212
(28)‡ Journal English Nigua, sand flea, Tunga penetrans The Sandflea –Tunga penetrans: pp. 169–176. Representation of parasitic diseases and Parasites in Early African and pre-Columbian Art: II. Early American art. Nigua-Sandflea infection. Tunga penetrans. Plate XVI: pp. 208–209
(29) Bulletin Spanish Niguas La Enfermedad en las creencias de los primitivos americanos: p. 28
(14) Book Spanish Niguas Nosología precolombina. Parásitos externos. Pulgas: p. 92

*All sources are cited exactly as they appeared on the date of publication and in original languages.
†This ancient and unique manuscript by the indigenous Peruvian chronicler Guaman Poma de Ayala has been digitalized by the Department of Manuscripts and Rare Books, The Royal Library of Denmark, and is available at
‡Sources in which reproductions of tungiasis-depicting potteries are available.

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