Parasite Afrique, also known as puce chique or simply paras, is an egg-laying flea that is easily contracted on the foot soles, feet or lower legs from stepping barefoot on beaches in wet areas where livestock roam. Most Malagasy people living in affected areas, such as Tamatave, have experienced the problem. Depending on the stage of infection, treatment includes surgically removing the parasites combined with antibiotics.
Sand fleas enter below the skin's surface of foot soles and/or under a toe nail where they remain to lay their eggs.
Symptoms usually occur after a couple of days as one will feel an itching. At the affected areas a light dot with a black middle will appear. This knot containing the eggs can be the size of a small lentil and should be removed intact. Doing so, the skin should be opened, usually with a needle, a procedure preferably done by a doctor. If the knot is broken, surrounding tissues should be removed to prevent further infection. If the infection has occurred below a nail, the nail must first be removed.
To prevent these parasites to make themselves at home below your skin, be careful on "dirty" beaches where animals such as pigs and zebu roam. Besides a daily inspection, brushing your feet and lower legs with soap after visiting such beaches is recommended.