Student life

Biggest outbreak of scabies in years, especially among youngsters and students

The number of reports of scabies received by family doctors is the highest in years. Since the end of last year the number of reports has grown rapidly.

Don't give the mite a chance and wash your bedding and towels regularly and at high temperatures. (Photo: Stevepb / Pixabay)tig en op hoge temperatuur. (Foto: Stevepb / Pixabay)

Last week youngsters suffered from scabies three times more often than other age groups, according to research institute Nivel. This infectious but harmless condition is caused by mites that burrow and lay eggs in the skin. That causes relentless itching. 

According to the RIVM students easily fall prey to scabies because of their “poor hygiene conditions in combination with high-risk behaviour”. Many of them do not change their bed linen for weeks on end, live in close proximity to one another in student housing and have more frequent physical contact. This makes it easy for mites to spread.

Continued rise
It seems that getting rid of the itchy parasites will not be an easy matter. In 2016, there were an average of 1.8 reports per week of scabies among the Dutch population, but that figure has now almost doubled. The number of reports has risen particularly quickly in the past year.

Nivel researcher Mariëtte Hooiveld has no explanation for this. It is, however, clear that the skin condition occurs less frequently in summer. “Most of the reports are received in autumn and winter.”

The scabies mite is currently experiencing a rise especially in the GGD regions of Drenthe, Gelderland-Zuid, Kennemerland and Gooi -en Vechtstreek. In the latter region, the GGD recorded 24 cases last week. The number of scabies reports in the Haaglanden region – which includes Delft – is a lot lower. Last week, 6 cases were reported. 

Prevention and cure
How do you keep the pesky critter out? Give the mite no chance and wash your bedding and towels regularly and at a high temperature (at least 60 degrees), do not exchange unwashed clothes and inform each other if you have contracted scabies.

Infected? If so, contact your GP. Treatment with a special cream is often sufficient. However, it is important that all housemates receive the treatment at the same time and that all textiles are washed to prevent new infections.

HOP, Peer van Tetterode / Delta, Marjolein van der Veldt
Translation: Taalcentrum-VU

HOP Hoger Onderwijs Persbureau

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