High Burden of Impetigo and Scabies in a Tropical Country

Andrew Steer, A JENNEY, Joseph Kado, M BATZLOFF, V N LA, L WAQATAKIREWA, Edward (Kim) MULHOLLAND, Jonathan Carapetis

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    Background: Impetigo and scabies are endemic diseases in many tropical countries; however the epidemiology of these diseases is poorly understood in many areas, particularly in the Pacific. Methodology/Principal Findings: We conducted three epidemiological studies in 2006 and 2007 to determine the burden of disease due to impetigo and scabies in children in Fiji using simple and easily reproducible methodology. Two studies were performed in primary school children (one study was a cross-sectional study and the other a prospective cohort study over ten months) and one study was performed in infants (cross-sectional). The prevalence of active impetigo was 25.6% (95% CI 24.1-27.1) in primary school children and 12.2% (95% CI 9.3-15.6) in infants. The prevalence of scabies was 18.5% (95% CI 17.2-19.8) in primary school children and 14.0% (95% CI 10.8-17.2) in infants. The incidence density of active impetigo, group A streptococcal (GAS) impetigo, Staphylococcus aureus impetigo and scabies was 122, 80, 64 and 51 cases per 100 child-years respectively. Impetigo was strongly associated with scabies infestation (odds ratio, OR, 2.4, 95% CI 1.6-3.7) and was more common in Indigenous Fijian children when compared with children of other ethnicities (OR 3.6, 95% CI 2.7-4.7). The majority of cases of active impetigo in the children in our study were caused by GAS. S. aureus was also a common cause (57.4% in school aged children and 69% in infants). Conclusions/Significance: These data suggest that the impetigo and scabies disease burden in children in Fiji has been underestimated, and possibly other tropical developing countries in the Pacific. These diseases are more than benign nuisance diseases and consideration needs to be given to expanded public health initiatives to improve their control. � 2009 Steer et al.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)e467-
    JournalPLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


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