Are skin diseases in school children related to keeping of animals in homes?
Background: Families in Jos keep animals in the home vicinity for various reasons such as companionship, security, nutrition, and financial support. Children in such homes live in close proximity with such animals. The skin being the outermost organ to interface with animals may be exposed to infections and allergens. There is therefore a need to determine the proportion of children in the population who are exposed to animals in their homes, and to describe any relationship with skin diseases.
Objectives: The study was carried out to investigate the proportion of school children in close contact with animals and the relationship between skin disease and presence of such animals in homes.
Methods: This was a descriptive cross sectional study of 390 (aged 6-12 years) children of primary schools in Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau state, Nigeria. Clinical diagnosis of skin disease was made from information on, disease symptomatology and examination of skin, hair and nails of respondents. Diseases were grouped into Infectious skin diseases (fungal, bacterial, viral and ectoparasitosis), dermatitis, urticaria and others. Data was analyzed using SPSS version 21.
Results: The proportion of school aged children that had animals at home were 77.2 % ( 301 of 390).The prevalence of skin diseases in the school children was 36.2% (141 among 390). There was no statistically significant difference (p=0.144) in the occurrence of skin disease among those that kept animals 34.2%(103 of 301) and those that did not 42.7%(38 of 89). However there was a statistically significant difference in the pattern as children who had animals in their homes were observed to have more infectious skin diseases and less urticaria and dermatitis (p-0.001)
Conclusion: A large proportion of families with children keep animals in the vicinity of the homes and this may affect the type of skin diseases children present with. Simple personal hygiene should be taught to children and practiced at home after contact with animals
Keywords: Skin diseases, animals, zoonosis, children