Scabies in the UK
Epidemiology of scabies prevalence in the U.K. from
general practice records
S. Lassa, M.J. Campbell and C.E. Bennett (2011)
British Journal of Dermatology164, pp13291334
BackgroundScabies is a contagious parasitic infestation which causes an allergic
reaction to just a few mites.
ObjectivesTo examine the epidemiology of scabies consultations in the U.K. by
age, sex, region of the country and time.
MethodsData were obtained from the THIN (The Health Information Network)
database provided by EPIC U.K. in which each consultation episode is coded
according to a READ code. Data were available for 19972005 inclusive
(9 years) for approximately 8.5% of the U.K. population from 12 regions of the
U.K. We used harmonic analysis to model the data over time and derived cycle
amplitudes and phases for each region in the U.K.
ResultsThere was a significantly greater infestation rate among females with a relative
risk of 1.24 (P < 0.001) relative to males. The age group 1019 years had
the highest infestation rates (with rates of 4.55 per 1000 and 5.92 per 1000 for
males and females, respectively). The middle age groups had the smallest infestation
rates. A cycle with length of between 15 and 17 years was derived, and the
phase times of the cycles for each region suggested a progression of the disease
originating from the North East, spreading to Northern parts of the U.K. and
then to the Midlands and the South.
ConclusionsThe study confirms earlier studies with regard to the age ⁄sex distribution
of scabies. We suggest a contagious pattern of spread of scabies infestation
in the U.K. with an epidemic cycle length of 1517 years.