National Healthy Skin Guideline for the Prevention, Treatment and Public Health Control of Impetigo, Scabies, Crusted Scabies and Tinea for Indigenous Populations and Communities in Australia

Bowen AC1, May P2, Tong S, Currie B3, Andrews R3, Prince S3, Couzos S3, Schofield L3, Carapetis JR3


Background and aim:

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children living in remote communities of Australia have the unenviable position as world leaders in burden of scabies and impetigo. Untreated skin infections are painful, itchy and frequently go untreated due to under-recognition. Further, they can cause potential serious complications including kidney disease and rheumatic heart disease. We aimed to develop evidence-informed guidelines for the prevention, treatment and public health control of impetigo, scabies, crusted scabies and tinea in endemic populations. This will help support health practitioners’ clinical management of patients and ensure patients receive the same, streamlined and evidence-based skin infection management regardless of where they live.


A systematic review evaluating the evidence for the prevention, treatment and public health control of skin infections in resource-limited settings was completed by the Australian Healthy Skin Consortium who oversaw the scientific content of the guideline recommendations. In May 2018, National Healthy Skin Guideline (“the guidelines”) were published and endorsed by 17 professional organisations, along with a visual clinical handbook and online quiz. The visual clinical handbook for Community Care Workers was added in May 2019.

Results and conclusions:

These first-ever guidelines summarise the literature, identify gaps for research and are an international source document for skin infection control in resource-limited settings, particularly remote Aboriginal communities. The guidelines and resources can be downloaded online ( with  >4000 views, 1500 downloads, and >200 quiz completions.  The guidelines are being utilised across Australia and the Pacific.

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