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The prevalence of scabies, pyoderma and other communicable dermatoses in the Bijagos Archipelago, Guinea-Bissau

posted on 18.11.2019, 18:40 by Michael Marks, Thomas Sammut, Marito Gomes Cabral, Eunice Teixeira da Silva, Adriana Goncalves, Amabelia Rodrigues, Cristóvão Manjuba, Jose Nakutum, Janete Ca, Umberto D’Alessandro, Jane Achan, James Logan, Robin Bailey, David Mabey, Anna Last, Stephen L. Walker


Skin diseases represent a significant public health problem in most low and middle income settings. Nevertheless, there is a relative paucity of high-quality epidemiological data on the prevalence of these conditions.


We conducted two cross-sectional population-based skin-surveys of children (6 months to 9 years old) in the Bijagós Archipelago of Guinea-Bissau during the dry season (February-March 2018) and the wet season (June-July 2018). Following a period of training, a nurse performed a standardised examination for communicable dermatoses for each participant. We calculated the prevalence of each skin condition and investigated demographic associations.


1062 children were enrolled in the dry season survey of whom 318 (29.9%) had at least one skin diseases. The most common diagnosis was tinea capitis (154/1062, 14.5% - 95% CI 12.5–16.8%) followed by tinea corporis (84/1062, 7.9% - 95% CI 6.4–9.7%), pyoderma (82/1062, 7.7% - 95% CI 6.2–9.5%) and scabies (56/1062. 5.2% - 95%CI 4.0–6.8%). 320 children were enrolled in the wet season survey of whom 121 (37.8%) had at least one skin problem. Tinea capitis remained the most common diagnosis (79/320, 24.7% - 95% CI 20.1–29.9%), followed by pyoderma (38/320, 11.9% - 95% CI 8.6–16.1%), tinea corporis (23/320, 7.2% - 95% 4.7–10.7%) and scabies (6/320, 1.9% - 95% CI 0.8–4.2%).


Our study, which utilised robust population-based cluster random sampling methodology, demonstrates the substantial disease burden caused by common communicable dermatoses in this setting. Given these findings, there is a need to consider common dermatoses as part of Universal Health Coverage to deliver ‘skin-health for all’.