Impact on Aboriginal communities
Almost half of all Aboriginal children in remote areas are affected by skin sores at any one time, with household overcrowding a major factor in its spread. It is estimated nearly 85 per cent of Aboriginal children are treated for impetigo before their first birthday.
Scabies is also endemic in some remote Aboriginal communities, with up to one-third of children affected. Not only itchy and uncomfortable for the child, skin infections can lead to life-threatening conditions such kidney disease, rheumatic heart disease, bone infections and blood poisoning.
With skin infections accounting for a big proportion of attendances at regional clinics, particularly in children under five years, Telethon Kids Institute researchers are looking for ways to tackle these high rates of impetigo and scabies.
These include investigating the effectiveness of treating skin sores with antibiotic capsules and syrup rather than painful penicillin injections and collaborating with health services in the Kimberley region to better recognise and treat skin infections.