Vitiligo in the Nigerian African: a study of 351 patients in Benin City, Nigeria

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BackgroundThere is a paucity of reports on vitiligo in sub-Saharan Africa.AimTo define the clinical and epidemiologic pattern of vitiligo in the Nigerian African.MethodsWe examined all new cases of vitiligo seen in the Dermatology Unit of the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH) over a 14-year period: January 1985 to December 1998.ResultsThree hundred and fifty-one patients with vitiligo, representing 3.2% of new dermatologic cases, were enrolled. The study group was made up of 153 males and 198 females, giving a sex ratio of 1: 1.3. The peak incidence of vitiligo was in the second and third decades of life, and the most common form of presentation was the localized focal type (77%), followed by the segmental type (12.5%) and the generalized form (10.5%). Common sites affected were the limbs (32%), trunk (23.8%), face (18.2%), head and neck (9.1%), and the mucous membranes (7.4%). There was a positive family history of vitiligo in 18% of subjects and 3.4% had systemic diseases, such as diabetes mellitus (1.7%), anemia (0.8%), hyperthyroidism (0.6%), and leukemia (0.3%).ConclusionsVitiligo on darkly pigmented skin is often a very striking disease. Our findings show that the pattern of vitiligo is similar to that reported from other parts of the world. The high level of social stigmatization is due to confusion with leprosy.

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