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High Burden of Impetigo and Scabies in a Tropical Country

Steer, Andrew C., Jenney, Adam W. J., Kado, Joseph, Batzloff, Michael R., La Vincente, Sophie, Waqatakirewa, Lepani, Mulholland, E. Kim and Carapetis, Jonathan R. (2009). High Burden of Impetigo and Scabies in a Tropical Country. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases,3(6):e467.

Document type: Journal Article
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IRMA ID 10666xPUB26
Title High Burden of Impetigo and Scabies in a Tropical Country
Author Steer, Andrew C.
Jenney, Adam W. J.
Kado, Joseph
Batzloff, Michael R.
La Vincente, Sophie
Waqatakirewa, Lepani
Mulholland, E. Kim
Carapetis, Jonathan R.
Journal Name PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Publication Date 2009
Volume Number 3
Issue Number 6
ISSN 1935-2735   (check CDU catalogue open catalogue search in new window)
Start Page e467
Total Pages 7
Place of Publication San Francisco, CA, United States
Publisher Public Library of Science
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DEST)
Abstract 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).


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.

Keywords impetigo
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