Background: The most common skin infections affecting children in remote Aboriginal communities are scabies and impetigo. Group A streptococcal skin infections are linked to the high rates of heart and renal disease occurring in Aboriginal Australians. Methods: A retrospective review of medical records was conducted in a primary health care centre in the East Arnhem region of the Northern Territory. Data was collected from all presentations to the clinic in the first 2 years of life for 99 children born between 2001 and 2005 as a component of the East Arnhem Regional Healthy Skin Project. Results: The median number of presentations to the clinic in the first 2 years of life was 32. Skin disease was recorded in 22% of all presentations. By 1 year of age 82% of children had presented to the clinic with their first episode of impetigo and 68% with their first episode of scabies. Antibiotics were administered to 49% of children with impetigo. Conclusion: Skin infections are a major reason for presentation to primary health clinics and contribute to the high disease burden experienced by children in the first 2 years of life. This high frequency of presentation provides multiple opportunities for intervention and monitoring.
- skin disease