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Spectrum of skin diseases in Maroon villages of the Maroni area, French Guiana


Background: Due to their genetic characteristics and their high exposure to infectious diseases, Maroons are likely to suffer from a specific spectrum of skin diseases. However, skin disorders have never been explored in this population. We aimed to describe all skin diseases in Maroon villages of the Maroni region in French Guiana.

Methods: This retrospective study concerned all patients who consulted in the remote health centers of Apatou, Grand-Santi, Papaichton, and Maripasoula between October 5, 2017, and June 30, 2020. We included all patients registered with a skin disorder (International Classification of Diseases) in the medical database. We excluded patients whose diagnosis was invalidated after cross-checking by a dermatologist.

Results: A total of 4741 patients presented at least one skin disease, for 6058 different disorders. Nonsexually transmitted infections represented 71.6% of all diagnoses, followed by inflammatory diseases (9.8%) and bites/envenomations (4.6%). The three most frequent conditions were scabies, abscesses, and impetigo. Besides scabies, neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) were still prevalent as we reported 13 cases of leprosy and 63 cutaneous leishmaniasis. Atopic dermatitis (AD) represented only 2.5% of our diagnoses.

Conclusions: With the exception of AD, which was less frequent among Maroons, these results are similar to those previously reported in Amerindians. Therefore, a common exposure to rainforest pathogens seems to induce a common spectrum of skin diseases dominated by infections. The high prevalence of NTDs requires specific public health actions.

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Journal Article
Valentin J
Niemetzky F
Gaillet M
Michaud C
Carbunar A
Demar M
Couppie P
Blaizot R