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The Prevalence of Scabies and Impetigo in the Solomon Islands: A Population-Based Survey

posted on 2016-06-27, 11:48 authored by Daniel S. Mason, Michael Marks, Oliver Sokana, Anthony W. Solomon, David C. Mabey, Lucia Romani, John Kaldor, Andrew C. Steer, Daniel Engelman


Scabies and impetigo are common, important and treatable skin conditions. Reports from several Pacific island countries show extremely high prevalence of these two conditions, but for many countries, including the Solomon Islands, there is a paucity of epidemiological data.


Ten rural villages in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands were included in the study, chosen so that data collection could be integrated with an existing project investigating clinical and serological markers of yaws. All residents were eligible to participate, and 1908 people were enrolled. Participants were interviewed and examined by a paediatric registrar, who recorded relevant demographic information, and made a clinical diagnosis of scabies and/or impetigo, severity and distribution.

Principal Findings

The total unweighted prevalence of scabies was 19.2% (95% confidence interval [CI] 17.5–21.0), and age and gender weighted prevalence 19.2% (95%CI 16.7–21.9). The adult prevalence of scabies was 10.4% (95%CI 8.2–13.2), and the highest prevalence was found in infants < 1 year of age (34.1%, adjusted odds ratio [AOR] compared with adults: 3.6, 95%CI 2.2–6.0) and children aged 1–4 years (25.7%, AOR 2.6, 95%CI 1.7–3.9). Scabies affected two or more body regions in 80.9% of participants, and 4.4% of scabies cases were classified as severe. The total unweighted prevalence of active impetigo was 32.7% (95%CI 30.6–34.8), and age and gender weighted prevalence 26.7% (95%CI 24.2–29.5). The highest prevalence was found in children aged 1–4 years (42.6%, AOR compared with adults: 4.1, 95%CI 2.9–5.8). Scabies infestation was associated with active impetigo infection (AOR 2.0, 95%CI 1.6–2.6); with 41.1% of active impetigo cases also having scabies.

Conclusions and Significance

Scabies and impetigo are very common in the rural Western Province of the Solomon Islands. Scabies infestation is strongly associated with impetigo. Community control strategies for scabies may reduce the burden of both conditions and their downstream complications.