The pathogenesis of tropical ulcer amongst the Hausas of Northern Nigeria

  • Gordon Thomson I
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Abstract

(1) An account is given of tropical ulcer amongst the Hausas of Northern Nigeria (2) Origin: Injuries 63 per cent., pimples or unknown 26 per cent., guinea-worm 7 per cent., miscellaneous 4 per cent. It is suggested that many of group shown as “pimples” or “unknown” may have originated from mosquito bites. The peak incidence of ulcers corresponds with the period of maximum mosquito density. (3) Dietary analysis of the food intakes of 30 Katsina families reveals that the main deficiency is one of vitamin A.; but the content of vitamin B2complex, notably riboflavine, is low. The total protein of the diet though adequate is derived almost entirely from two cereals, pennisetum and sorghum, and may therefore be relatively low in biological value. (4) The rapid development of extensive ulceration of the legs has been correlated with the chronic state of malnutrition of the skin. It is often the patient with advanced malnutrition of the skin who develops ulcers. (5) While protein of high biological value and vitamin B2complex are generally deficient in dietaries throughout Nigeria, vitamin A deficiency and perhaps essential fatty acid deficiency are found exclusively in Northern Nigeria. It is likely that vitamin A deficiency and essential fatty acid deficiency are mainly responsible for the severe ce:degrees of xerosis and pachyderma found only in Northern Nigeria, and I suggest that this state of skin is responsible for the great frequency and severity of tropical ulcers in the Hausa people. © 1956 Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

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Authors

  • Ian Gordon Thomson

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