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Cloth sharing with a scabies case considerably explains human scabies among children in a low socioeconomic rural community of Ethiopia


Background: In 2020, scabies were integrated into the WHO roadmap for neglected tropical diseases, aimed at ending the negligence to realize the SDGs. Ethiopia has also introduced scabies as a notifiable disease in drought-prone localities since 2015. Many of the previous studies employed study designs that might be subject to bias. Moreover, there is no scientific evidence about scabies in this area. Hence, this study aimed to determine the prevalence and associated factors of scabies among children aged below 15 years in rural Ethiopia.

Methods: A community-based cross-sectional study was carried out among 942 children in rural kebeles of Lay Gayent District from March through May 15, 2021. A two-stage sampling technique was applied. Data on sociodemographics, housing, water supply and sanitation, children’s personal hygiene, and caregivers’ knowledge about scabies were collected by a structured questionnaire. Data quality was maintained through pretesting, training of data collectors and supervisors, and supervision. An adjusted binary logistic regression was modelled to identify factors associated with scabies. The Hosmer–Lemeshow goodness-of-fit test was run to check the model fitness.

Results: The prevalence of scabies was 21.5% (95% CI 19.0–24.3). Maternal illiteracy (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 1.61; 95% CI 1.07–2.43); low household wealth (AOR = 2.04; 95% CI 1.25–3.33); unimproved water source (AOR = 1.58; 95% CI 1.05–2.40); not cleaning a house daily (AOR = 2.43; 95% CI 1.63–3.62); not trimming nails (AOR = 2.21; 95% CI 1.50–3.25); cloth sharing with a scabies case (AOR = 11.77; 95% CI 6.94–19.97); and low caregiver knowledge about scabies (AOR = 2.44; 95% CI 1.64–3.63) were factors associated with scabies.

Conclusions: Scabies remains a significant public health issue among children aged below 15 years in the district. Maternal illiteracy, low household wealth, unimproved water source, not cleaning a house daily, not trimming nails, cloth sharing with a scabies case, and low caregiver knowledge about scabies were factors associated with scabies. Community-wide interventions with prime emphasis on improving maternal education and caregivers’ knowledge about scabies, upgrading household wealth, ensuring a safe water supply, providing healthy housing, and ensuring adequate personal hygiene are warranted.

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Journal Article
Melese F
Malede A
Sisay T
Geremew A
Gebrehiwot M
Woretaw L
Atanaw G
Azanaw J
Melese M
Feleke H