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Open Access Research article

Skin flora: Differences between people affected by Albinism and those with normally pigmented skin in Northern Tanzania – cross sectional study

Samson K Kiprono1*, John E Masenga1, Baraka M Chaula1 and Bernard Naafs12

Author affiliations

1 Department of Dermatology, Regional Dermatology Training Center, Box 8332, Moshi, Tanzania

2 Stichting Tropendermatologie, Munnekeburen, The Netherlands

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Citation and License

BMC Dermatology 2012, 12:12  doi:10.1186/1471-5945-12-12

Published: 30 July 2012



Skin flora varies from one site of the body to another. Individual’s health, age and gender determine the type and the density of skin flora.


A 1 cm2 of the skin on the sternum was rubbed with sterile cotton swab socked in 0.9% normal saline and plated on blood agar. This was cultured at 35°C. The bacteria were identified by culturing on MacConkey agar, coagulase test, catalase test and gram staining. Swabs were obtained from 66 individuals affected by albinism and 31 individuals with normal skin pigmentation. Those with normal skin were either relatives or staying with the individuals affected by albinism who were recruited for the study.


The mean age of the 97 recruited individuals was 30.6 (SD ± 14.9) years. The mean of the colony forming units was 1580.5 per cm2. Those affected by albinism had a significantly higher mean colony forming units (1680 CFU per cm2) as compared with 453.5 CFU per cm2 in those with normally pigmented skin (p = 0.023). The skin type and the severity of sun- damaged skin was significantly associated with a higher number of colony forming units (p = 0.038).


Individuals affected by albinism have a higher number of colony forming units which is associated with sun- damaged skin.

Skin flora; Albinism; African