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Prevalence of dermatological manifestations among the tribal school children of South India

Bharatesh Devendra Basti, Shankar Radhakrishnan.

Abstract
Background: Skin diseases are particularly significant in children as they have the capability of contributing risk in developing other life-threatening illnesses. The prevalence of skin diseases among children in India ranges from 8.7% to 35%. Factors like socioeconomic status, environmental conditions, dietary habits, climate, hygiene, cultural factors, genetic factors and education status of parents influence the presence of skin diseases in children. Aim of the study was to assess the prevalence of dermatological lesions and the associated factors among the school going children of tribal area in South India.
Methods: A cross sectional study was conducted at a community school in the tribal area of Yercaud in TamilNadu. The total number of children included in the study was 923 of various age groups. This school gives the complete representation of tribal children as this being the only school for a population of 10,000. The diagnosis of the dermatological lesions were made mainly by history and clinical examination and wherever required skin biopsy and skin scraping was done to confirm the diagnosis.
Results: 596 (64.6%) children had dermatologic manifestations.386 (41.8%) children had only one skin disease, 160 (17.3%) had two skin diseases and 50 (5.5%) children had 3 or more skin diseases. Skin diseases were more common among the 5-9 age group (66.8%) children and 10-14 age group (69.4%). Factors like infrequent bathing and wearing clothes without regular washing had influenced the dermatological lesions in the children.
Conclusions: Health education, regular periodical examination of the children by the teachers is the need of the hour. Early diagnosis and treatment measures for the affected children need to be taken to prevent and control the outbreak of skin diseases.

Key words: Tribal area, Prevalence, Dermatological lesions



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