Neglected tropical skin diseases in a Nigerian tertiary hospital
Background: Neglected tropical diseases (NTD) are a subset of chronic infectious diseases commonly found among the less privileged in developing countries. The World Health Organization (WHO) seeks to reduce and eventually eradicate these chronic disabling diseases which propagate poverty and under-development. The cutaneous manifestation of NTD is the major cause of morbidity and stigmatization. Thus the dermatologist has a key role to play in the abovementioned WHO goal. This study aims to identify skin NTD in a dermatologic
practice in Nigeria and to mention some challenges to effective control of some.
Materials and Methods: This is a descriptive retrospective study in which the records of all patients presenting with skin NTD were extracted from the general dermatology out-patient records and analyzed.
Results: Two thousand seven hundred and fifty (2750) records of patients in the dermatology out-patient clinic were assessed, out of which 154 had skin NTD, accounting for 5.6% of the total population. The vast majority were males (63.6%), with a male to female ratio of 1.8:1; and a mean age of 28.4 ± 17.4. Six NTDwere identified, and the predominant type was scabies (66.9%), which was more common in males and students. Onchodermatitis (14.3%) on the other hand had a female preponderance.
Conclusion: Neglected tropical skin diseases (NTSD) are common in the urban dermatology clinic. The most prevalent (scabies) is a highly contagious disease, whose diagnosis remains sub-optimal among healthcare practitioners. Dermatologists are best positioned to ensure early diagnosis of a good number of NTD and stem their progression before the morbidity, disfigurement, stigmatization, and attendant short, andlong-term complications develop.
Keyword: Neglected Tropical Skin Diseases, Nigeria, Scabies, Leprosy, Cutaneous Leishmaniasis, Lymphatic filariasis, Cutaneous larva migrans