Small mite, big itch: scabies cases jump 60 percent in Germany

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The Local - [email protected] • 26 Apr, 2018 Updated Thu 26 Apr 2018 14:48 CEST
Small mite, big itch: scabies cases jump 60 percent in Germany

The number of cases of scabies, a disease caused by mites burrowing in the skin and resulting in severe itching, is on the increase nationwide.


German health insurance provider Barmer recently stated that the number of prescriptions against scabies increased from some 38,000 in 2016 to 61,000 in 2017, reported Spiegel Online on Thursday. Prescription numbers have been steadily rising for several years.

The disease is caused by a so-called itch mite, a tiny arachnid which only affects humans. The females lay their eggs in a system of small tunnels which they dig in several parts of the body, be it between the fingers and toes or in the armpits.

The condition causes horrible itching, especially at night, in addition to redness, blisters and scaley skin. It is spread through skin-to-skin contact, and treatable only by a “scabicide” in prescription form.

The exact number of cases in Germany is unknown, as the disease is only required to be reported if it occurs in community facilities. According to the Robert Koch Institute, 757 cases were registered in hospitals in 2010 versus 2,773 cases in 2015.


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