The prevalence of common skin infections in four districts in Timor-Leste: a cross sectional survey

dos Santos, Milena M.L., Amaral, Salvador, Harmen, Sonia P., Joseph, Hayley M., Fernandes, Jose L., and Counahan, Megan L. (2010) The prevalence of common skin infections in four districts in Timor-Leste: a cross sectional survey. BMC Infectious Diseases, 10. 61. pp. 1-6.

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Background Skin infections are a common public health problem in developing countries; however, they are rarely managed using a population based approach. Recent data on the burden of skin infections in Timor-Leste are limited. Our survey appears to be the only widespread survey conducted in more than 30 years and was designed to determine the baseline prevalence of some common skin infections in Timor-Leste.

Methods We conducted a cross sectional survey in 14 sites including community health clinics, schools and hospitals within four different geographical regions. Participants were examined for five conditions (scabies, pyoderma, fungal infections, leprosy and yaws) by a multidisciplinary team. Analyses were conducted using EpiInfo version 6.04d.

Results We examined the skin of 1535 participants aged between four months and 97 years. The majority of participants were male, aged between 11 and 20 years and had at least one condition of interest (56.0%, 56.0%, and 63.1%, respectively). Fungal infections were the most common presentation (39.0%) and males were more commonly affected than females (42.3% vs 34.0%, respectively, pvalue < 0.0001).

Among those people with more than one condition the two most common co-infections were scabies with either pyoderma or a fungal infection (38.0% and 32.0%, respectively). The survey identified 29 previously undiagnosed cases of leprosy and six cases of yaws.

Conclusions Our findings indicate the need for a comprehensive programme to address these conditions. There are successful disease control programmes in place within the country and it is hoped a healthy skin programme could be integrated into an established disease control programme in order to maximise health benefits and resources.

Item ID: 15902
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1471-2334
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© 2010 dos Santos et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Date Deposited: 21 Apr 2011 05:13
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111706 Epidemiology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920404 Disease Distribution and Transmission (incl. Surveillance and Response) @ 100%
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