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01.12.2019 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2019 Open Access

BMC Infectious Diseases 1/2019

Prevalence of scabies and impetigo in the Solomon Islands: a school survey

BMC Infectious Diseases > Ausgabe 1/2019
Millicent H. Osti, Oliver Sokana, Sophie Phelan, Michael Marks, Margot J. Whitfeld, Christina Gorae, John M. Kaldor, Andrew C. Steer, Daniel Engelman
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Scabies, a parasitic disease of the skin, is a major public health problem, largely affecting children. Scabies is often complicated by impetigo which can result in serious complications including invasive infections and immune mediated diseases. Scabies and impetigo are reported to have high prevalence in tropical settings including the Solomon Islands.


We conducted a cross-sectional prevalence survey at Gizo Primary School in the Western Province of the Solomon Islands in August 2018. The diagnosis of scabies was based on criteria developed by the International Alliance for the Control of Scabies in 2018. Population attributable risk was calculated to determine the effect of scabies on the prevalence of impetigo, and both adjusted and unadjusted risk ratios were calculated to identify differences between sexes and age groups.


A total of 324 students were assessed (47.5% of those enrolled at the school). The prevalence of scabies was 54.3% (95% confidence interval [CI] 48.7–59.8) and most disease was mild (68.8%). The prevalence was higher in males (63.5%; adjusted risk ratio [ARR] 1.4, 95% CI 1.1–1.7), and in those aged 10–12 years (61.4%; ARR 1.8, 95% CI 1.1–2.9 when compared to those aged 4–6 years). The prevalence of impetigo was 32.1%, with males more likely to be affected (41.7%, ARR 1.7, 95% CI 1.2–2.4) but with no significant differences between age groups. 63.5% of those with impetigo had scabies, corresponding to a population attributable risk of 11.8%.


There is a very high burden of scabies and impetigo among primary school students in Gizo. There is a critical need for the development and implementation of control programs in areas where scabies is endemic.
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