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Burden of paediatric pyoderma and scabies in North West Queensland

Authors


  • Conflict of interest: None declared.

Correspondence: Professor John Whitehall, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Western Sydney, Locked Bag 1797 Penrith South DC, NSW 1797, Australia. Fax: +61 02 4620 3891; email: john.whitehall@uws.edu.au

Abstract

Aim

The study aims to assess the health burden of children admitted with ‘scabies’ to Mt Isa Hospital, the referral centre for North West Queensland, from 2006 to 2010.

Methods

This is a retrospective chart audit of admissions of children with ‘scabies’ including age, sex, date, residence, Indigenous status, result of skin swabs and length of stay, and the number of admissions with acute rheumatic fever (ARF) and acute post-streptococcal glomerulo-nephritis (APSGN) in that period. Financial burden was estimated from daily bed costs and transportation.

Results

There were 113 admissions with mean age of 23/12: 11% were <2/12 and mean stay was 4.5 days. 19 were admitted twice, 5 thrice and 2 four times. 7 individuals accounted for 25% of admissions. ‘Scabies’ accounted for 10.1% of medical admissions <5 years of age. Admissions increased from 10 in 2005 to 39 in 2010. The minimum cost per admission was $9584.07.

Seventy-one per cent of swabs grew Group A streptococcus, all sensitive to penicillin. Sixty-three per cent of these were accompanied by Staphylococcus aureus, which was the sole organism in 18%. Sixty-four per cent of S. aureus were methicillin resistant.

There were 29 admissions for ARF and 23 with APSGN. All children with ‘scabies’ and ARF and all but three with APSGN were Indigenous.

Conclusion

Pyoderma and scabies are major health burdens in North West Queensland, requiring organised community-based prevention. The number of repeat admissions emphasises the futility of individual treatment.

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