Itchy skin disease: Rising number of scabies cases reported
Although scabies were considered extinct in Germany for a long time, the contagious skin disease was never completely gone. The disease, which is medically known as scabies, currently seems to be on the rise again in Germany, as the Barmer Ersatzkasse reports.
Contagious skin disease is spreading
Many people think that scabies has long been a thing of the past in Germany, but there have always been phases in which the itchy skin disease has returned. There have been more and more cases of scabies infections in schools recently. And just a few months ago, an entire ward in a Bonn clinic had to be closed due to scabies cases. Now the Barmer health insurance company reports that scabies in Germany seem to be on the rise again.
Scabies can be transmitted from person to person
As the Federal Center for Health Education (BZgA) explains on its portal "infektionsschutz.de", scabies, medically referred to as scabies, is a contagious skin disease caused by the itch mite of humans.
It can be transmitted from person to person as well as from animal to person and via clothing or objects.
The disease is usually not dangerous, but extremely uncomfortable for those affected.
Signs of disease from scabies
Burning the skin and itching, which is particularly pronounced in bed warmth, are often the first signs of scabies, according to the BZgA.
“The itching can even spread to skin regions that are not directly from
Itch mites are affected, ”the experts write on their portal.
Accordingly, the spaces between fingers and toes, wrists, ankles, armpits, elbows, nipples and genitals are primarily affected.
The hairy head, face and palms of the hands and feet can also be affected, particularly in infants and young children.
In addition, injured skin can purulently ignite due to scratching. With prolonged infestation, a large-scale itchy rash with blister-sized blisters, reddened raised nodules or pustules can develop in response to the mite's excretions.
Prescribed significantly more scabies medication
An analysis by the Barmer health insurance company now suggests that scabies is clearly on the rise again in this country.
According to this, the number of prescriptions for important scabies medications rose by 60 percent between 2016 and 2017, from 38,127 to 61,255 prescriptions for those insured with Barmer.
"The doctors are again prescribing significantly more scabies medication, in all regions of Germany. The number of sick people is likely to have risen similarly, ”said Dr. Utta Petzold, dermatologist at Barmer.
The cash register points out that one should quickly see a doctor at the first signs of scabies, such as reddened papules in the genital area, between the fingers or in the armpits and especially nighttime itching.
Regional increases of up to 127 percent
A look at the federal states shows massive regional differences in the development of prescriptions for scabies preparations.
While the number of recipes in Berlin increased by 35 percent, there was an increase of 127 percent in Schleswig-Holstein, followed by Bremen (98 percent) and Rhineland-Palatinate (89 percent).
Most of the prescriptions were prescribed in North Rhine-Westphalia at 26,758 in 2017, followed by 5,011 in Lower Saxony.
This way, the transmission risk can be reduced
“An infection with scabies can affect everyone and does not automatically have to do with hygiene. The sick can infect other people through physical contact if they still have no symptoms, ”explains Petzold.
The itch mite can spread particularly easily in daycare centers. Since itch mites could survive outside the human body for a few days, the expert advises those affected and their contacts to change their clothes and bed linen daily and wash them at a temperature of at least 60 degrees.
Towels should be replaced immediately after use. Non-washable items should be packed airtight for seven to 14 days. It also makes sense to vacuum upholstered furniture and mattresses every day with a powerful vacuum cleaner.
"You should also avoid physical contact with people suffering from scabies and not sleep in the same bed," advises Petzold. (ad)