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Belgium - Scabies outbreak 2024

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  • Belgium - Scabies outbreak 2024

    Translation Google

    The return of scabies: how to identify it? How to protect yourself from it?

    9 hours ago
    By Florence Dussart

    It was believed to have disappeared or almost disappeared. Scabies is making a comeback. More and more cases are being reported here, in Belgium, and, more generally, in Europe. Some dermatologists have observed 30 to 50% additional cases since last summer (even if overall, the return of scabies has lasted for several years).

    Dermatologist Koen Roegies, president of the Professional Union of Dermatologists of Belgium, works in Tournai. He is confronted with scabies every week: " in the past, we were used to seeing one case of scabies per month. But it must be said that for two years, we have seen a clear increase with, often, several cases per week ", he notes.

    Pediatrician Jean-Philippe Stalens, head of the pediatric department at CHWAPI in Tournai, confirms: β€œ For several years we have been seeing more and more of it, it’s true. It even affects very young children, almost newborns. I would say that it has been for around ten yearsbut with an ascending phase .

    Scabies is a tiny parasite that takes up residence in our skin and causes very severe itching. Important clarification to put an end to a preconceived idea: scabies is not linked to hygiene. It is transmitted by prolonged contact (around 15 minutes) with the skin. But it can also be transmitted through the environment, between people who sleep in the same bed for example, or exchange clothes. The parasite survives for 72 hours outside the human body. Scabies therefore spreads more quickly in communities: rest homes, homes for disabled people, or among students. Furthermore, it is found more in less privileged environments where we often live in more cramped spaces.

    How to treat scabies?

    Scabies itself is not a serious infection. It can also be treated very well with cream and/or medication. The main problem is that it is very difficult to get rid of. Because the incubation period is long: up to several weeks before symptoms appear. And a cured person can easily be reinfected with scabies by being around someone who is unaware of having been infected by the parasite.

    Not to mention that the cream must be applied for 12 hours on the entire body, with the exception of the face. Any forgotten area can serve as a refuge for one or another parasite which can then resume its life and continue to reproduce.

    Prevention rather than cure

    In terms of prevention, it is advisable to wash your hands often and avoid prolonged contact with people who have signs such as eczema or itching. And if someone is affected, everyone around them must be treated at the same time.

    Given the survival of the parasite outside the human body, it is necessary to vacuum regularly, wash sheets and clothes worn in the last 3 days at 60 degrees. If this is not possible, another solution is to put everything in the freezer for 24 hours in an airtight bag.

    Specialists do not really explain the return of the disease, if it is not our more frequent vacations in exotic countries and migratory flows; scabies being more present in southern countries.

    The AVIQ offers on its site a complete sheet​ recommended by professionals on how to spot scabies, treat it and protect yourself from it.

    On la croyait disparue ou presque. La gale fait son retour en force. De plus en plus de cas sont signalés chez nous, en...

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