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Year : 1990  |  Volume : 56  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 375-376

Prevalence of dermatologic diseases in school children of a high altitude tribunal area of Himachal Pradesh

Correspondence Address:
N L Sharma

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A total of 201 school children,belonging to a high altitude tribal area were examined for various dermatologic lesions including nevi. All the children were found to have one or more type of diseases/lesions. Pediculosis ea tis was the comtnonest disease (74.1%), followed by pityriasis simplex (33.3%), warts (20.4%), scabies (12.9%), pyoderma (8.5%) and papular urticaria (7.5%), Nevi were observed in 73.1% children. An acral erythfma associated with cold hands and feet was seen in 7.5% children.

Keywords: Prevalence, Dermatologic diseases, Nevi.

How to cite this article:
Sharma N L, Sharma R C. Prevalence of dermatologic diseases in school children of a high altitude tribunal area of Himachal Pradesh. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 1990;56:375-6

How to cite this URL:
Sharma N L, Sharma R C. Prevalence of dermatologic diseases in school children of a high altitude tribunal area of Himachal Pradesh. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol [serial online] 1990 [cited 2020 Oct 27];56:375-6. Available from:

School surveys are useful indicators of prevalence of various skin diseases and status of health and hygiene of the society. A few studies have been carried out by dermatologists in urban[1] and semi-urban[2] areas and children of leprosy patients[3]. A similar school survey was undertaken in a tribal area of Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh at an altitude of 8500 feet.

  Materials and methods Top

This study was conducted in the month of September. Out of 290 children studying in the middle and high school section, 201 were examined. The whole body skin was thoroughly screened for pityriasis alba, pityriasis capitis nevi, papular urticaria, infections and infestations in particular and for other skin diseases also.

  Results Top

There were 106 boys and 95 girls ranging in age from 11 to 19 years, with an average of 14.19 years. All the students had one or more types of lesions / diseases which are shown in [Table - 1]. Pediculosis capitis was seen in 149 children. A total of 46 children had cervical lymphadenitis, of which 35 had associated pediculosis capitis. 41 children had warts; 37 of them had lesions over extremities, 10 over face and six on both these sites.

An acral erythema associated with cold hands and feet was observed in 15 (11 - males,' 4 - females) post pubertal children. Four of them had associated history of Raynaud's phenomenon and two of chillblains.

  Comments Top

The present study was conducted in a tribal area which remains snow - bound for almost 5 months of the year. Apart from high altitude, the temperature remains low throughout the year. The literacy rate is low and exposure to mass media is negligible. Thus, there is lack of awareness of personal hygiene and cleanliness. We observed a very high prevalence of pediculosis capitis, warts, cervical lymphadenitis and pityriasis simplex. Similarly, a fairly high prevalence of pyoderma, scabies and papular urticaria was seen. The above mentioned climatic factors combined with overcrowding and poor housing conditions are probably responsible for high prevalence of contagious diseases. Paradoxically, the prevalence of dermatophytoses and pityriasis versicolor was very low. A low atmospheric humidity due to lack of rains in this region (popularly known as `mountain desert') probably accounts for the low figures of these conditions. The prevalence rates of various dermatoses in our study compare well to those of Pasricha and Battu [3] but are higher than those of Kumar et al[2] and Sharma et al[1].

A peculiar condition of asymptomatic acral erythema associated with cold hands and feet, more common in boys was seen. Though the exact cause was not evident, prolonged low temperature may be contributory factor in those having predisposition.

  References Top

1.Sharma N K, Garg B K and Goel M : Pattern of skin diseases in urban school children, Ind J Dermatol Venereol Leprol, 1986;52:330-331.  Back to cited text no. 1    
2.Kumar V, Garg B R and Baruah M C : Prevalence of dermatological diseases in school children in a semi-urban area in Pondicherry, Ind J Dermatol Venereol Leprol, 1988 : 54 : 300 - 302.  Back to cited text no. 2    
3.Pasricha J S and Battu V : Dermatologic diseases in school going children of parents having leprosy. Ind J Dermatol Venereol Leprol, 1986 : 2 : 158 -159.  Back to cited text no. 3    


[Table - 1]

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