Date of Award

January 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Medical Doctor (MD)



First Advisor

Robert Tigelaar

Second Advisor

Toby Maurer

Subject Area(s)



An understanding of the clinical spectrum and impact of cutaneous disease is critical for guiding public health strategies in Sub-Saharan Africa, yet population-based studies on the epidemiology of cutaneous disease in the region are scarce. Using a community-based strategy that integrated dermatologic exams with screening for HIV and non-communicable diseases, we sought to describe the spectrum of cutaneous disease in rural Uganda. Following a household census to enumerate the local population, a multi-disease community-based health campaign was conducted. Screening total body skin exams were performed for a subset of 150 patients. The remaining patients (n=885) were referred for focused skin exams based on endorsement of a skin complaint. We calculated the prevalence and spectrum of cutaneous disease observed. 68.0% of the community participated in the community health campaign, 20.9% of which received dermatologic exams. The prevalence of cutaneous disease was 88.0%. The most common diagnoses were tinea capitis (23.5%), dermatitis variants (14.1%), xerosis (12.7%), acne (5.2%), folliculitis or furunculosis (3.3%), genital complaints (3.3%) and pityriasis versicolor (3.3%). We uncovered a substantial burden of cutaneous disease in rural Uganda. The most common diagnoses represented readily treatable conditions.


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