Frequency and Clinical Features of Sarcoptic Skin Disease (Scabies) in Congolese Schoolchildren
Sarcoptic skin disease (SSD) or scabies is a contagious parasitic skin disorder caused by the acarine itch mite Sarcoptes scabiei var. hominis. SSD is prevalent in the developing world where outbreaks occur in mostly vulnerable communities and health institutions, resulting in a significant economic burden. The World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated a SSD global prevalence of 0.2–24%. In Africa, relatively high SSD rates have been reported in children populations: 7.7–8.3% in remote areas in Kenya, 10.5% in Nigeria, and 17.8% in rural Cameroon. We conducted a cross-sectional descriptive study that included schoolchildren from four primary schools in Kinsenso, a semi-urban county of Kisenso in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Clinical examination was undertaken to diagnose and determine the frequency of SSD among schoolchildren. Ethical approval and necessary authorizations were obtained. Results showed a SSD rate of 3.95% in the population of Congolese schoolchildren (N1 = 2024) and 3.4% in a sample of those with skin disorders (N2 = 1894). The majority of affected children were boys (56% vs. 44% for girls). Personal hygiene was defective in 80% of participants. The younger children (5–7 years) were the most affected (61.5%); interdigital spaces were found to be the most affected body parts (93.8%), and vesicle was the most frequent skin lesion (95.3%). SSD represents a public health issue in DRC, and preventive measures should be implemented for SSD control and, eventually, its eradication.
KeywordsDemocratic Republic of Congo Epidemiology Sarcoptic skin disease Scabies Schoolchildren
Democratic Republic of Congo
Sarcoptic skin disease
World Health Organization
- Tounkara C. Clinical, epidemiologic and therapeutic aspects of scabies in Bamako (PhD thesis published in French). Ecole Nationale de Médecine et de Pharmacie du Mali, 1994. http://www.keneya.net/fmpos/theses/1993/pdf/93M10.pdf.
- World Health Organization (WHO). Epidemiology and management of common skin diseases in children in developing countries. Geneva, Switzerland: WHO; 2005. http://whqlibdoc.who.int/hq/2005/WHO_FCH_CAH_05.12_eng.pdf?ua.