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Education program 'can help reduce skin infections in remote places'

Melbourne, Mon, 30 Nov 2009 ANI

Melbourne, November 30 (ANI): Education programs involving local people can have a significant impact on reducing skin infections in remote communities, a new study suggests.


The study showed that a community-based treatment program in Northern Australia successfully reduced the number of Aboriginal children with skin infections.


As part of the program, annual treatment days for children with scabies and skin sores was scheduled.


Information on skin hygiene was spread through house to house visits by local volunteers.


It was noted that in three years time, the program led to the medication of more than 2000 children in several remote communities in East Arnhemland in the Northern Territory.


"Initially 46 percent of the kids had skin sores, but the end of the program the number of children with skin sores had reduced by 14 percent," ABC Science quoted Epidemiologist Dr Ross Andrews of Charles Darwin University in Darwin, as saying.


However, he added that only a fifth of children that need treatment are receiving it.


He said: "We also didn't see any impact in the [number of children] with scabies. We think most people take the [treatment] cream, but they don't use it."


Andrews also gave an insight into the main cause of skin infections such as skin sores and scabies.


Scabies is caused by a parasite that burrows into the skin where they lay their egg, but it can only sustain in human skin.


Hence, it "needs close contact to get from one human to another."


He explained: "[It] is essentially a disease of poverty and overcrowding. We've shown that scabies have a role in about 50 to 70 percent of skin sores."


However, he believes the study has helped to "make some in roads."


He concluded: "It's small [programs] working locally that we think has been a real driver here". (ANI)


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