Scabies Outbreak Investigation in Bilawanja Mosque, Hulbareg District, Southern Ethiopia, 2017

  • Vector-borne
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Scabies is an ectoparasitic, highly contagious skin disease caused by infestation of the skin by the human itch mite, Sarcoptes scabiei var. hominis. Dermatologists estimate that more than 300 million cases of scabies occur worldwide every year. In Ethiopia, according to national survey conducted in 2008, 6.2% of school children and 5.6% of orphan school children were affected by scabies. On July 2017 a scabies outbreak was reported to the Hulbareg District Health Office among “Deresa” (religious students) in Bilawanja Mosque. The purpose of this study was to investigate scabies outbreak, identify factors associated with scabies transmission, and to take public health action among the group affected.
Unmatched case control study with case control ratio of 1:2 was conducted from 15 to 25 July, 2017 in Bilawanja Mosque in Hulbareg District. Controls were individuals who were living within Bilawanja Mosque and who had no Scabies sign and symptoms. Data was collected by face to face interview of cases and controls through structured questionnaires. Data analysis was done using Microsoft excel and SPSS (version 20). Multi variable and binary logistic regressions were conducted and odds ratio calculated with their corresponding 95% confidence interval.
A total of 60 respondents were included; 20 cases and 40 controls. In bivariate analysis age, travel history, sharing clothes and close contact with scabies patient were associated with contracting scabies. In multivariate analysis, people who shared clothes with scabies patients were 27.6 (95% CI=3.2-222) times more likely to develop scabies and individuals who had close contact with an ill person were 20.6 (95% CI=1.6-262) times more likely to develop scabies.
In this study, scabies was a public health problem among Deresa in Bilawanja Mosque. Sharing clothes and close contact with scabies patients were identified risk factors. Public health education to improve recognition of scabies, with prevention of sharing clothes and physical contact with cases, will help contain future outbreaks.
Keywords: Investigation; Outbreak; Scabies; Deresa.

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