Abo­rig­i­nal chil­dren face skin dis­ease risk

Midwest Times - - NEWS - Ge­off Vi­vian

A new Telethon In­sti­tute study shows ru­ral Abo­rig­i­nal chil­dren in the Murchi­son and Mid West re­gions have skin diseases at a markedly higher rate than non-Abo­rig­i­nal chil­dren.

WA Cen­tre for Ru­ral Health di­rec­tor Dr San­dra Thomp­son, who was not in­volved in the study, said skin diseases in chil­dren could lead to worse health con­se­quences.

“They can lead to rheumatic fever, for ex­am­ple, which is one of the causes of heart dis­ease,” she said. “And you can even get re­nal fail­ure be­cause you get these in­fec­tions, like post-strep­to­coc­cal glomeru­lonephri­tis.”

Dr Thomp­son said over­crowded hous­ing was the main cause of the skin diseases. “Poor hous­ing brings kids into con­tact with lots of other peo­ple who have var­i­ous con­di­tions, as does con­tact with pets,” she said.

“Part of shar­ing houses also means peo­ple may not have very good wash­ing and show­er­ing fa­cil­i­ties.”

Dr Thomp­son said sca­bies mite in­fes­ta­tions caused se­vere itch­ing.

“Scratch­ing the itch breaks the skin and makes it more sus­cep­ti­ble to in­fec­tion, then the in­fected skin con­tam­i­nates the en­vi­ron­ment,” she said.

Dr Thomp­son said mal­nu­tri­tion led to chil­dren fail­ing to thrive, which also made them more sus­cep­ti­ble to var­i­ous in­fec­tions.

Ac­cord­ing to the study, more than 31 in 1000 Abo­rig­i­nal chil­dren liv­ing in ru­ral parts of the Murchi­son and Mid West had skin con­di­tions such as sca­bies and school sores.

“In Abo­rig­i­nal chil­dren, ab­scess was the most com­mon prin­ci­pal di­ag­no­sis, fol­lowed by cel­luli­tis, sca­bies, im­petigo and py­o­derma, fun­gal in­fec­tion and head lice,” Dr Thomp­son said.

She said Abo­rig­i­nal chil­dren in the re­mote Kim­ber­ley, Pil­bara and Gold­fields had even higher skin in­fec­tion rates, with the high­est dis­par­i­ties be­tween Abo­rig­i­nal and non-Abo­rig­i­nal chil­dren be­ing in in­fants aged un­der one.

“The good news is that the rates have been de­clin­ing over­all by about 6 per cent per year over the last few years,” Dr Thomp­son said.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.