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Success of a scabies control program in an Australian Aboriginal community

CARAPETIS, JONATHAN R. FRACP; CONNORS, CHRISTINE MBBS; YARMIRR, DAISY DHS; KRAUSE, VICKI MD; CURRIE, BART J. FRACP

Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal:
Original Studies
Abstract

Objective. To adapt, implement and evaluate a model of scabies control in an Australian Aboriginal community.

Methods. After initially examining the population, we offered all residents treatment with 5% permethrin cream. Visits were made during the ensuing 25 months to rescreen and to treat newcases of scabies and contacts.

Results. The prevalence of scabies was reduced from 28.8% before the program to <10% during the entire period (from 32.3% to <10% in children) (P < 0.01 for each visit). The initial prevalence of pyoderma in children was 69.4%, which was reduced and maintained at approximately one-half that rate during the last 16 months (P < 0.004 for the last 4 visits). Residual pyoderma in children was significantly less severe and no longer scabies-related.

Conclusions. This simplified model of scabies control had a substantial effect on scabies prevalence and on pyoderma prevalence and severity which was sustained for >2 years. It could prove useful for other communities with high rates of scabies and pyoderma.

Author Information

From the Menzies School of Health Research, Darwin (JRC, BJC); Disease Control Centre, Territory Health Services, Darwin (CC, VK); and Minjilang Health Centre, Croker Island (DY), Northern Territory, Australia.

Accepted for publication Jan. 28, 1997.

Address for reprints: J. R. Carapetis, F.R.A.C.P., Menzies School of Health Research, P.O. Box 41096, Casuarina, Northern Territory, 0811 Australia. Fax 61-8-8927 5187; E-mail jonc@menzies.su.edu.au.

© Williams & Wilkins 1997. All Rights Reserved.