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Clinical epidemiologic profile of vitiligo

S Kiprono
B Chaula


Background: Vitiligo is an acquired de-pigmenting disorder of unknown aetiologyaffecting 1-2% of the world’s population. It is a chronic skin disease, characterised by the appearance of white depigmented macules and patches due to loss of melanocytes. This disorder is common in all races, regardless of age and sex. The onset of the disease may vary from early infancy to old age.
Objective: To determine the clinical and epidemiological characteristics of patients with vitiligo.
Design: This was a cross sectional descriptive study.
Setting: Regional Dermatology Training Centre in Moshi, Tanzania.
Subjects: One hundred and twenty two patients.
Results: The male to female ratio was 1:1.8 and a median age of 24 years (range 3 to 87). The mean age at disease onset was 26.2 years (SD 19.5). The types of vitiligo observed were as follows: vitiligo vulgaris (50.8%) focal non segmental (23%) and Acrofacial (12.3%). Positive family history was noted in about 10% of the population studied. The commonest sites of initial onset were head and neck (41.8) and lower limbs (18.0%). The median body surface area affected was 6% (range 1 to 90%). Autoimmune diseases were noted in 17.2% of the patients. Atopic dermatitis (9.8%) was the most common associated disease.
Conclusion: Vitiligo affects all ages with more females affected. Vitiligo vulgaris is the commonest type and few patients have first degree relatives with vitiligo.

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