Defining the need for public health control of scabies in Solomon Islands.

22 Feb 2021
Lake SJ, Engelman D, Sokana O, Nasi T, Boara D, Grobler AC, Osti MH, Andrews R, Marks M, Whitfeld MJ, Romani L, Kaldor JM, Steer AC


Pacific Island countries have a high burden of scabies and impetigo. Understanding of the epidemiology of these diseases is needed to target public health interventions such as mass drug administration (MDA). The aim of this study is to determine the prevalence of scabies and impetigo in Solomon Islands as well as the relationship between them and their distribution. We conducted a prevalence study in 20 villages in Western Province in Solomon Islands. All residents of the village were eligible to participate. Nurses conducted clinical assessments including history features and skin examination. Diagnosis of scabies was made using the 2020 International Alliance for the Control of Scabies diagnostic criteria. Assessments were completed on 5239 participants across 20 villages. Overall scabies prevalence was 15.0% (95%CI 11.8-19.1). There was considerable variation by village with a range of 3.3% to 42.6%. There was a higher prevalence of scabies in males (16.7%) than females (13.5%, adjusted relative risk 1.2, 95%CI 1.1-1.4). Children aged under two years had the highest prevalence (27%). Overall impetigo prevalence was 5.6% (95%CI 4.2-7.3), ranging from 1.4% to 19% by village. The population attributable risk of impetigo associated with scabies was 16.1% (95% CI 9.8-22.4). The prevalence of scabies in our study is comparable to previous studies in Solomon Islands, highlighting a persistent high burden of disease in the country, and the need for public health strategies for disease control.