Aims and objectives: Dermatoses are common health problems in prisons and environmental conditions influence their prevalence and pattern. Hot and humid environment as obtains in the tropics, stress, and overcrowding are conditions that facilitate development of. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and pattern of dermatoses in a prison located in a tropical environment.
Materials and methods: The study was done in May-July 2006 in a South-West Nigerian prison. Using a purpose designed questionnaire, information on sex, age, prison status, and number in rooms was obtained and inmates were clinically examined.
Results: Inmates studied were 305 (296 males and 9 females). Dermatoses were found in 221 inmates with overall prevalence of 72.5% (221/305). Infectious disorders were seen in 67.9% (150/221) and non-infectious in 32.1% (71/221). The diseases occurred in 72.9% (167/229) of awaiting trial persons and 72.9% (51/70) convicted persons. Overcrowding was more in cells (average sleeping area was 9.5 sq feet). Skin diseases affected 80.3% (61/76) of inmates in cells and 69.9% (160/229) in dormitory rooms.. About 71.2% (94/132) of inmates affected stay in five highly overcrowded dormitory rooms with infectious disorders in 48.5% (64/132). Dermatophyte infections were 34.3% of 332 dermatoses seen, pityriasis versicolor 14.5%, acne vulgaris 12.3%, dandruff 10.5%, 28.4%. A significant relationship was found with overcrowding and place where dermatoses were first noticed.
Conclusion: Dermatoses are common health problem of prisoners, and prison conditions facilitate these problems.