According to the study conducted by the Bezmialem Vakıf University Hospital Dermatology Clinic, an increase of 2 and a half times was detected in scabies cases. Making a statement about the reasons for this increase in scabies cases, Dermatology Specialist Prof. Özlem Su Küçük stated, "With the increase in the contact of people -especially crowded families- who are closed in at home during the quarantine period, and who ignore the process of which gives symptoms with itching, and in order to eliminate the risk of COVID-19 transmission, people avoid applying to hospitals. This has caused an increase in scabies cases".
Bezmialem Vakıf University Faculty of Medicine Deputy Dean and Department of Dermatology Lecturer Prof. Özlem Su Küçük, in her statement on the increase in scabies cases and the reasons for the increase, stated:
“In the study conducted by the Bezmialem Vakıf University Hospital Dermatology Clinic, the March-September 2019 and March-September 2020 dates were compared and a two and a half-fold increase in scabies cases was detected. While the number of patients who applied to the dermatology outpatient clinic was 36,500 in 2019, this number decreased to 26,200 in 2020, but despite this, the rate of scabies, which was 0.71 percent in 2019, increased to 1.77 percent in 2020. The fact that people stay indoors during the quarantine period -especially in crowded families- has led to an increase in domestic transmission. In addition, people with itching did not apply to the hospital fearing the pandemic, and there were delays in treatment. Delayed treatment, on the other hand, poses the risk of further spread of the disease, but also causes treatment resistance.
"Scabies" Alert in European Countries
Expressing that they have observed that the cases of scabies have been increasing in our country for the last 5 years, Prof. Özlem Su Küçük stated, “When we look at the literature, we came across a study from Spain that draws attention to the outbreak of scabies in the COVID-19 pandemic, similar to our study. In this study, it is stated that the closure of people at home, the increase in the time spent with relatives at home and the inability of people to consult a doctor unless it is very necessary during this period are effective in the epidemic of scabies.
2 Signs of Scabies!
Indicating that scabies has 2 important symptoms, Prof. Özlem Su Küçük stated, “The disease that occurs when the Sarcoptes scabei hominis mite, which is an invisible parasite similar to lice, settles under the skin; It causes itching, rash and skin sores in different parts of the body. Severe itching, especially at night, and the appearance of itching and rash in the same family members are the two most important warning signs. Patients may apply to the doctor with itching and red-colored rashes that increase most at night and in the heat, sometimes small water-filled blisters, sometimes dirty-looking tunnel-shaped structures, small crusts. Most commonly affected areas are the waist and belly area, inner wrist, between the fingers, hips, armpits, breast area in women and genital area in. Differing in infants and the elderly; the palms and soles of the feet, face, neck and even the whole body can be involved.
Is Every Itch a Sign of Scabies?
Prof. Özlem Su Küçük stated, “Scabies, which is easily transmitted from person to person by physical contact (direct contact), is not transmitted from animals such as cats and dogs to humans, contrary to popular belief. At the same time, the disease can be transmitted through items that can carry the parasite. Scabies, which spreads more easily among people who wear the same clothes, share the same bed or the same towel, is transmitted regardless of age and gender. Not all itching is, of course, a symptom of scabies. There are many different causes of itching. However, as we mentioned, itching that gets worse at night, small red rashes and similar complaints, especially in other family members, are warning signs.
Measures to be Taken Against Scabies
Stating that scabies is very contagious, Prof. Özlem Su Küçük said, "It can be transmitted by long-term skin contact (contacts exceeding 20 minutes) such as holding hands, dancing, and sexual intercourse. It can also be transmitted by sharing clothing, bedding or towels that have been used by someone with scabies infection. Since scabies is mostly transmitted through direct physical contact, it can easily be transmitted to family members and friends. All clothes and belongings in the house should be cleaned. Patients should take a good bath after the treatment, all clothes, bed linen and covers should be washed at 60 degrees celsius and ironed out with a hot iron. It is recommended to keep items that cannot be washed in a sealed bag for about 3 days.
Scabies Treatment Should Be Applied to All Family Members Simultaneously
Prof. Özlem Su Küçük concluded, “The most important rule in treatment is that people who share the same environment and their family members should also apply 1 cure of treatment simultaneously, even if they do not have complaints. In this sense it is very important for people with suspicious itching to consult a doctor, to take the correct and adequate treatment and to prevent the spread. Mostly, drugs in the form of lotions and creams applied to the body surface, the amount of which can vary according to the age and condition of the patient, are recommended. These should be applied with care according to the usage and frequency of use recommended by the doctor. If there is no response to the drugs applied to the skin surface, oral medication is recommended. In parallel with the treatment, applications to eliminate the parasites in the goods are also recommended. Sometimes antiallergic drugs can be added to the treatment to reduce itching".