Objective: To adapt, implement and evaluate a model of scabies control in an Australian Aboriginal community.
Methods: After initially examining the population, we offered all residents treatment with 5% permethrin cream. Visits were made during the ensuing 25 months to rescreen and to treat new-cases of scabies and contacts.
Results: The prevalence of scabies was reduced from 28.8% before the program to < 10% during the entire period (from 32.3% to < 10% in children) (P < 0.01 for each visit). The initial prevalence of pyoderma in children was 69.4%, which was reduced and maintained at approximately one-half that rate during the last 16 months (P < 0.004 for the last 4 visits). Residual pyoderma in children was significantly less severe and no longer scabies-related.
Conclusions: This simplified model of scabies control had a substantial effect on scabies prevalence and on pyoderma prevalence and severity which was sustained for > 2 years. It could prove useful for other communities with high rates of scabies and pyoderma.