Field trials on the management of scabies in Jengka ?· FIELD TRIALS ON THE MANAGEMENTOF SCABIES IN…

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<ul><li><p>Med. J. Malaysia Vol. XXXV No. 1, September 1980</p><p>FIELD TRIALS ON THE MANAGEMENT OF SCABIES INJENGKA TRIANGLE, PAHANG</p><p>GILL AJEET KAUR.</p><p>KANDIAH NADESWARY.</p><p>SUMMARYA study was carried out in theJengka Triangle</p><p>in Pahang to find out the prevalence and apractical cum effective method of treatment andcontrol of scabies. Scabies was the commonestskin lesion among the 5590 people examined. itsprevalence being 11.6%. Both sexes were equallyaffected. Prevalence was high among childrenand teenagers, the worst affected being the 10 to14. 2 to 4, 15 to 19 and 5 to 9 year olds. Theproblem of scabies in Jengka could be due toinadequate and irregular water supply, plus lackof mothers' supervision of the personal hygiene oftheir children aged&gt; 2 years. The persistence ofscabies since 1976 is very likely due to thepeople's non-compliance with standing instruc-tions on treatment with Benzyl benzoate emulsion</p><p>A comparative study of treatment of scabieswith Gamma Benzene Hexachloride [GBH] andwith Benzyl benzoate emulsion [BBE] showedGBH to be the medication of choice. It was moreeffective and convenient, giving 97.9% cure ratewith one application. A hot bath was notnecessary. The patients preferred GBH to BBEsince it was painless and without side-effects. Thecost of treatment with GBH [1 application] wasalso much less than that with BBE [2 appli-cations].</p><p>Gill Ajeet Kaur, BSK, MBBS (Adel.) DPH (S'pore)Head of Division of Community Health Research</p><p>Institute for Medical ResearchKuala Lumpur, Malaysia.</p><p>Kandiah Nadeswary, MBBS (Cey.) DPH (Lond.) FRIPHH(Lond.)</p><p>Medical Officer of HealthDivision of Community Health Research</p><p>Institute for Medical ResearchKuala Lumpur, Malaysia.</p><p>Running Title: Field trials on the management of scabies.</p><p>14</p><p>Only 28. 7% of the cases and contacts compliedwith instructions to do 2nd application of themedication on their own, making it imperativethat application be done by the health Staff orunder their direct supervision. The majority[87.2%] complied with instructions to place theirused clothes in large polythene bags and air thesein the sun for two days. This procedure shouldreplace the instructions to boil personal clothes asit is just as effective. yet more convenient andeconomical. A regular, biannual screening of allkindergarten and primary school children isrecommended. Application of GBH to all scabiescases and all close contacts should be done by thehealth worker. The whole body from neck tosoles of feet should have the application, and thepeople should be instructed to bathe only after 24hours. They are to go to the nearest clinic orhospital on the 7th day for second application ofGBH, if the itchness or lesions persist orreappear. Such supervised medication is possibleand will minimise misuse of GBH.</p><p>INTRODUCTION</p><p>SCABIES is a highly infectious dermatitis caused'by infestation with Sarcoptes scabiei. It is a worldwide problem, being prevalent among those livingin poor socio-economic conditions, (Davey, 1961)and particularly among those with poor personalhygiene (Fain 1978). Since 1963 there has been aprogressive increase in scabies in many parts ofthe world, reaching epidemic levels in some areas(Orkin, 1971). During the present century,Britain has experienced three epidemics ofscabies. In the United States, the disease hasincreased noticeably. An epidemic was reportedin Maine in 1971 involving one fifth of acommunity of 15,000 (Orkin, 1975). Scabiesposes bigger health problems than its visible skin</p></li><li><p>manifestations, intense itchiness and sleeplessnights. Whittle (1973) found scabies to be aleading cause of nephritis in Zaria, Nigeria.Svartman et al, (1972) found that scabies was amajor cause of the largest epidemic of acuteglomerulonephritis in Trinidad.</p><p>In Peninsular Malaysia, scabies continues topersist as a common communicable disease. Themedical records in the Ministry of Healthindicate that 104,233 scabies cases in 1970 and97,828 such cases in 1979 were treated by theGoverment Medical and Health Services. Thesefigures, however, do not reflect the actual extentof the problem since an unknown number resortto home/traditional remedies or go to privatedoctors. Traditionally, scabies in Malaysia hasbeen treated with topical application of SulphurOintment or Benzyl benzoate emulsion. However,it has been observed that response to these drugshas nor been satisfactory and has not contributedtowards its control.</p><p>This study was to find out the magnitude of thescabies problem in the population studied and toevaluate the degree of effectiveness of Benzylbenzoate emulsion and gamma benzene hexa-chloride in the treatment of scabies.</p><p>BACKGROUND OF STUDY AREA</p><p>The Jengka Triangle, located in the centre ofPahang, is a huge Federal Land DevelopmentProject comprising of 28 separate schemes,growing mainly oil palm and rubber. At the timeof this study, the Goverment medical and healthservices available in Jengka Triangle were, aMain Health Centre located in its town, a HealthSub-centre in Jengka 2 and Jengka 8 schemes,and a 'Klinik Desa' staffed by a communitynurse or a midwife, in each of the remainingschemes. Each scheme had a kindergarten and aprimary school. The water supply to Jengka wasfrom reservoirs provided by the Public WorksDepartment. The supply was irregLlar andlimited, varying from a few hours in the day toone or two days in the week. The problem ofscabies affecting 20 - 30% of the primary schoolchildren in Jengka, was first reported in 1976 by</p><p>15</p><p>Loesbroek, a German Peace Corps Nurse. Subse-quently, the local health Staff carried out schoolsurveys in Jengka and treated the scabies casesand contacts with either Benzyl benzoate emul-sion or Sulphur ointment. However, when theU.S.Army Medical Research Unit (USAMRU)from the Institute for Medical Research, startedits studies on Scrub Typhus in Jengka in mid1977. the settlers urged for treatment for theirpersisting skin problem, which was causing agreat deal of suffering among the infectedfamilies. Consequently, this study was planned.</p><p>MATERIALS AND METHODS</p><p>The total population of the three schemesselected, i.e. Jengka 15, Jengka 11 and 12,compri-sing mainly of Malays (990/0) was included in thestudy.</p><p>About four weeks prior to setting up ofexamination centres for detection and treatmentof scabies, the Wilayah Jengka officers and thegeneral manager of each scheme, the PahangHealth authorities including their staff providinghealth srevices in Jengka, and the Block leadersfrom among the settlers, were briefed on theobjectives and plan of action of the study in orderto enlist full participation of the people and thosewho assisted. It was stressed to them that allmembers of every household in the scheme had tobe painted with the medicine in order to ensureeffective cure and control of the scabies.</p><p>Socio-demographic data of the population inthe three schemes was collected. The householdswere given appointments for clinical examinationat the centres specially set up for this study. Theywere also given instructions to have a bath withsoap and water, those in Jengka 12 to have a hotbath, prior to coming to the centres. At thecentres, aII of them had their clinical historytaken and medical examination done by MedicalOfficers. Diagnisis was established on clinicalexamination. (However, Nadchatram did skinscrapings of 15 cases and isolated Sarcoptesscabiei from 3). AII members of the infectedfamilies had the medication applied by the healthStaff, to the whole body from neck to soles of</p></li><li><p>feet. Application to- the genitalia was by theindividuals under supervision. They were instruct-ed to have a bath only 24 hours after theapplication. If any persons had to wash hands orany part of the body, during the 24 hours, theywere to reapply medication immediately after thepurpose was served. Each family was given 5 mlsof the medicine for this purpose. Gamma benzenehexachloride in cetomacrogol aqueous creambase (GBH),with the concentration of 0.5% forthose below 2 years and 1% for the rest was usedin Jengka 11 (1 application) and in Jengka 15 (2applications). For the second application, theinfected families in Jengka 15 were given 250 mlsof the cream with instructions to reapply themedicine on the 7th day. In Jengka 12, themedication used was Benzyl benzoate emulsion(BBE), 12.5% for those below 2 years, and 25%for the rest. For the 2nd application of BBE byhealth staff, the infected families were instructedto come back to the clinic the following day aftera hot bath. For disinfestation of clothing, allinfected families were instructed to put clothesused by them in the past 48 hours, into largepolythene (rice) bags, tie the bag-mouths, and airthese in the sun for 2 days. Their beddings werealso to be aired similarly for 2 days. All patientswere reviewed in two weeks. Those not cured inJengka 15 and 11 were given another applicationof GBH whereas persisting cases in Jengka 12were given two more applications of Benzylbenzoate. A final review was done in six weeks.A patient was considered cured if itchness andlesions had disappeared. Cases not cured at finalreview were given application of GBH.</p><p>RESULTS AND DISCUSSION</p><p>Out of the total population of 6032 in the threeselected schemes, 5590 people turned up forexamination, giving a response rate of 92.7 %.98% of the respondents were Malays, the restbeing Indians (1.50/0) and Chinese (0.5%). TableI shows the age, sex distribution of the popula-tion examined. Children and teenagers aged 2-19years formed 49.2% of the population. By sex,50.3% were males and 49.7 % were females.</p><p>PREVALENCE</p><p>646 (11.6%) out of the 5590 people examined</p><p>16</p><p>had scabies. The prevalence was 7.9% (130cases), 16.3%(365 cases) and 8.8% (151 cases) inJengka 15, 11 and 12 respectively. These rateswere comparable to prevalence among someEuropean populations (Andrew 1976) but werelower when compared to the findings in Tanzania(Masawe 1975). Prevalence was 11.6 % among themales and 11.5% among the females. Church(1978) obtained similar findings but Haribhakti(1970) showed that scabies was predominantamong males in the ratio of 2:1. Table II shows</p><p>TABLE I</p><p>AGE AND SEX DISTRIBUTION OF THE POPULATION</p><p>EXAMINED</p><p>Age group</p><p>(years) Male Female Total</p></li><li><p>Fig. I Frequency distribution of scabies cases in the various age groups</p><p>100</p><p>90</p><p>80</p><p>70</p><p>60</p><p>% 50</p><p>40</p><p>30</p><p>20</p><p>10</p><p>0</p></li><li><p>playing amongst themselves in their home com-pounds, and the poor personal hygiene amongthe 2 to 9 year olds because the mothers generallyallow these children to wash and bathe them-selves without assistance. In a survey done inSheffield, Church (1978) observed that infectionwas introduced mainly by school children andteenagers, especially girls. Mallanby 1972 foundthat infection spreads from person to person, thecloser and more prolonged the contact, thegreater the risk of spread.</p><p>COMMON SITES FOR THE SCABIES LESIONS</p><p>In this study, the most common sites of thescabies lesions were the hands (71.7%) of thecases); the next common sites were the arms(51.5% of the cases), the buttocks (44.10/0), andthe legs (43.8%). Scalp lesions were found onlyin the 0 - 4 year age group (2%) and the 10 - 14year age group (1 case). These findings were verysimilar to those found by Mellanby (1972), andDavey and Light-body (1961).</p><p>TREATMENT</p><p>To compare the efficacy of gamma benzenehexachloride (GBH) with that of Benzyl benzoteemulsion (BBE), the cure rate of scabies cases inJengka 15 and 11 who were treated with GBHwas compared with that of cases in Jengka 12treated with BBE. MeIIanby (1972) recommended2 applications of BBE on successive days orwithin a week. Harry (1976) recommended 3applications of BBE on 3 successive nights. Inthis study, two applications of BBE on consecu-tive days were equated to and compared with oneapplication of GBH. Table IV shows the numberand percentage cured by the two methods oftreatment, by age groups. Of the 150 casestreated with BBE, 86.7% 'Were cured. On theother hand, among the 332 cases treated withGBH, the cure rate was 97.9%. By using 't'test of significance at 95%confidence level it wasnoted that there was a significant difference inthe cure rates. The male/female and the agegroup classifications for both treatments did notshow any significant difference. This was deter-mined using the chi-square test.</p><p>It was observed that when BBE was appliedover skin abrasions and ulcers, it caused burningsensation which made the small children cry. Thesituation was made worse when some of thecrying children rubbed their eyes with handspainted with Benzyl benzoate, the eyes becamered and swollen immediately. Of the childrenwho had the first application of BBE 7.9% didnot turn up for the second application, becausethe mothers did not want their children to sufferthe same pain and discomfort. Applied on peoplewith prickly heat it was found to make thecondition worse. These side effects were notobserved with GBH nor were there any side ortoxic effects even though it was applied to skinlesions other than scabies in all age groups.Church (1978) and Mellanby (1972) also foundthat Benzyl benzoate caused dermatitis andburning sensation of the skin. Haribhkti (1976)observed similar side effects with Benzyl benzoatebut did not find any intolerance or sensitisationwith GBH Benenson (1950) found 0.5% solutionof GBH as effective as 25% BBE and without anyside effects.</p><p>Buelah (1976) recommended that high dosesand prologned contact with GBH should beavoided. Orkin (1978) has ststed that the recentre-evaluation of the risk-benefit relations of GBHhas shown that it is easy to use, effective, allergiccontact dermatitis has not been documented andclinical central nervous systems toxicity has beenIiimited to misuse situations. Haribhakti (1976)has shown a cure rate of 91.07% after appli-cation of 1% GBH cream for 7 days. Fausts(1964) found 100% clinical cure with 1 to 3applications of 1.5% ointment base of GBH.Harry (1976) has recommended two applicationsof 1% GBH at 7 days interval. He also foundthat treatment of the contacts was necessary evenif they were free from symptoms at the time ofexamination. Benenson (1970) found that for 55% of the cases a Znd application of GBH wasnecessary after 7-10 days. Wilcocks (1966),Cannon (1948), Smith (1967) and Rowland(1967) have shown that one application of 1%GBH has been successful in the treatment ofscabies.</p><p>During this study period, dust samples from</p><p>18</p></li><li><p>the floors, beddings and clothings were collectedfrom 45 houses in the study area which includedhouses with scabies cases. Sarcoptes scabiei wasnot isolated in any of the samples (Nadchatram -pers. comrn). Mellanby (1972) and Fausts (1964)noted that infestation by indirect transmissionwas UnC0111nl0n and of little importance. Usually,close contact over long periods, such as sleepingwith the infected person, is necessary for thetransfer of the mites (Baker et a! .. 1956).</p><p>COMPLIA.NCE WITH INSTRUCTIONS.</p><p>rsatnma with water:</p><p>The population in Jengka 12 was interviewedregarding their hot bath prior to coming forexamination. Of the 1721 people from 362households. only 14...</p></li></ul>

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