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Year : 1991  |  Volume : 57  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 141-143

Prevalence of skin diseases in Varanasi school children

RA Valia, SS Pandey, Paramjeet Kaur, Gurm Singh 

Correspondence Address:
R A Valia


In a school survey in Varanasi city, 12481 children were examined. More than half (54%) had one or more skin diseases. The commonest ones were peduculosis capitis (35%), pityriasis alba (12%) acne vulgaris (8%), miliaria (4%) and pyodermas (3%)

How to cite this article:
Valia R A, Pandey S S, Kaur P, Singh G. Prevalence of skin diseases in Varanasi school children.Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 1991;57:141-143

How to cite this URL:
Valia R A, Pandey S S, Kaur P, Singh G. Prevalence of skin diseases in Varanasi school children. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol [serial online] 1991 [cited 2020 May 31 ];57:141-143
Available from: http://www.ijdvl.com/text.asp?1991/57/3/141/3651

Full Text

A survey of school children for skin dis­eases provides information regarding the epi­demiology of diseases like pyodermas, lep­rosy, infestations and acne vulgaris that are particularly common in that age group. It also results in the early detection of diseases like leprosy. There have been few such reports in our country, particularly by dermatologists.[1],[2],[3],[4],[5],[6],[7]

 Materials and Methods

Children in 97 government and 13 private schools in Varanasi city were examined. The survey was conducted from November 1986 to December 1987 with breaks during exami­nations and vacations. Multiple visits were paid to each school to increase the coverage.

Efforts were made to ensure privacy and the entire skin, surface was examined by a dermatologist assisted by a male and female paramedical worker. Leprosy cases were confirmed by a senior dermatologist and had a slit smear examination performed.

Data obtained was tabulated and analysed statistically using the X[2] test.


Of 18965 pupils on roll, 12481 (65.8%) children were examined. Of these, 6558 chil­dren were boys and 5723 were girls. There were 8828 (66%) students from the 4-10 years age group and 4253 (34%) students older than 10 years.

As many as 6686 (53.6%) children had one or more skin diseases [Table 1]. Pediculosis capitis, pityriasis alba and acne vulgaris accounted for 81% of the 8549 dis­eases examined.

Pediculosis capitis was more common in girls than boys at all ages, the difference in­creasing with age. The prevalence of leprosy, fungal infections, warts and scabies increased with age, being most common in older boys. Fourteen patients of leprosy were paucibacillary and one was multibacillary. No case of lepromatous leprosy was seen. Only two cases of tinea capitis were found.

Acne vulgaris became more prevalent with increasing age and was commoner in older girls. The prevalence of pyodermas, miliaria, pityriasis alba and angular chelitis declined with age with boys being more commonly affected than girls at all ages.


The prevalence of skin diseases (53.6%) reported here is higher than in other studies (4.3 - 49.1%)[1],[2],[3],[4],[5],[6],[7]. This is probably because most students examined were in government schools and from the lower socioeconomic groups. This could also account for the high prevalence of pediculosis capitis. It may be more common in girls than boys due to their longer hair length. Increased segregation of sexes may explain the more marked differ­ence in prevalence in older children.

The earlier onset of puberty in girls com­pared to boys explains the higher prevalence of acne vulgaris in girls. The higher preva­lence of miliaria in boys may be due to their greater physical activity with more sweating and that of pjpdermas due to their greater chances of trauma and secondary infection. The rarity of tinea capitis is not unexpected.

Scabies, warts and leprosy were more common in older boys probably due to greater opportunity for acquiring infection. Eczemas (excluding pityriasis alba), psoriasis, lichen planus and vitiligo were notable by their rar­ity.

Communicable diseases accounted for 43% of the skin diseases detected. In view of this imparting health education with emphasis on personal hygiene and environmental sani­tation would go a long way in controlling these diseases.

Such surveys when combined with treat­ment facilities for, at least, communicable and nutritional deficiency diseases, would make a significant contribution towards improving the health status of this vital segment of our population.


1Mukherjee PK and Sen PC : Health status of school children in rural West Bengal, J Ind Med Assoc, 1962; 38 : 421-426.
2Shah PN and Udani PN : Medical examination of school children in Palghar taluka, Ind J Pediat, 1968; 5 : 343-361.
3Datta banik ND, Nayar S, Krishna R et al : A study of morbidity pattern, nutritional status and various defects of urban primary school children in Delhi, Ind J Pediat, 1970; 37 : 561-564.
4Gupta B, Jain TP and Sharma R : Health status of school children in some primary schools of rural Rajasthan, Ind J Prev Soc Med, 1973; 4 : 24-30.
5Santhanakrishnan BR, Shanmugam D and Chandrabhushanam A : School health service in Madras city, Ind Pediat, 1974; 11 : 421-5.
6Sharma NK, Garg BK and Goel M : Pattern of skin diseases in urban school children, Ind J Dermatol Venereol leprol, 1986; 52 : 330-331.
7Kumar V, Garg BR and Baruah MC : Prevalence of dermatological diseases in school children in a semi-urban area in Pondicherry, Ind J Dermatol Venereol Leprol, 1988; 54 : 300-302.


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