Author(s): Nnoruka EN
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Abstract BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE: The incidence of skin diseases in south-east Nigeria during the present decade was analyzed and compared with results from other parts of Nigeria, particularly those in the same zone, obtained more than 30 years ago. This study was carried out to update the recent clinical picture of skin diseases in our environment in view of the rapid development, urbanization and advances in the region. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Consecutive new patients seen at the dermatology clinic of the University of Nigeria, Teaching Hospital, Enugu, Nigeria, from February 1999 to March 2001 were included in this prospective study. Only cases seen and examined by the author were included in this study to ensure uniformity of diagnosis. RESULTS: A total of 2871 patients were observed within the study period. Adults accounted for 69.7\% and were aged between 18 and 73 years, while the male:female ratio was 1.3:1. Allergic skin diseases (24.9\%) were the commonest skin disorders identified, as opposed to infestations which accounted for an extremely high result of 33.7\% (for the same region between 1968 and 1971). In second place was infections/infestations (19.1\%). A reversal of picture was thus observed. Within the allergic disorders; eczemas/dermatitis were found to be the most prevalent followed by follicular (13.7\%) and pigmentary disorders (11.1\%). Sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDs have increased significantly and accounted for 5.4\%. Blistering diseases (1.1\%) and malignancies (0.5\%) occurred less frequently, similar to results found in recent decades for the same region. CONCLUSION: The current picture of skin diseases in south-east Nigeria has changed significantly from mere infections to allergic skin, follicular and pigmentary disorders. Cutaneous lesions secondary to STDs and HIV/AIDs have also increased. Skin lesions related to malnutrition, kwashiorkor and starvation were not observed nor were cutaneous tuberculosis, yaws or pediculosis, while blistering disorders and malignancies remained almost the same. The current picture is similar to that in other developing and Afro-Caribbean countries. Primary-care physicians and health-care providers in Nigeria/Africa need to be aware of the globally changing pattern of skin diseases in the region to enable the allocation of necessary resources (financial, material and human) to manage these skin diseases.
This article was published in Int J Dermatol
and referenced in Journal of Medical Microbiology & Diagnosis