Sunday, December 5, 2021

Scabies outbreak affects 300 people in Blantyre Malawi

Malawi health authorities say the scabies outbreak around the commercial capital of Blantyre has affected more than 300 people. Scabies is a highly itchy, contagious disease caused by tiny mites that invade the skin.

“We started observing cases from June and we saw cases increase, so by the end of September we saw 255 cases. But now as I speak, as of October, that number has risen to 309 cases, ”says Chrissy Banda, spokesman for Blantyre County Health Department.

FILE: A migrant detained aboard a lifeboat off the Mediterranean coast with scabies on his body after arriving for a rescue operation in the port of Malaga in southern Spain on July 7, 2018.

Blantyre residents such as Matilda Lamba say the outbreak is worrying, especially with records indicating that it is more prevalent in rural areas.

“These people from the villages come to the city. You know that we buy from them such things as agricultural products, we interact with them on a daily basis and right now we are very afraid that we might get scabies, ”she notes.

But Banda says people shouldn’t panic, stating that efforts are being made to stop the outbreak. “There is treatment in our institutions. We have a lot of scabicides; scabies treatment. So, first we identify cases and then we treat them to make sure we have blocked transmission. ”

The scabies outbreak came at a time when Malawi is beginning to recover from COVID-19, with low infection and death rates currently being recorded.

George Jobe, chief executive of the Malawi Health Equity Network, says that while the scabies outbreak is daunting, the good news is that its preventative measures are similar to those that prevent COVID-19, such as hand washing and social distancing.

In the meantime, the Ministry of Health recommends that agencies working with large groups of people monitor cases of skin disease and report suspected cases to health authorities.

Read Also:  The death toll from COVID surpasses 5 million
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