An estimated 40 per cent of people in the overcrowded camps currently have scabies, with a recent report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) suggesting that prevalence in some camps is as high as 70 per cent.
Scabies is easy to treat but can cause severe physical and mental effects if left untreated. The usual treatment involves drugs applied to patients’ skin, clothes and home environments to eliminate the parasite that causes the infestation. However, in this case Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) warns that drugs will not be enough as the source of the outbreak needs to be tackled.
“There have been recurrent discussions about a mass distribution of drugs within the camps to tackle the current outbreak, but drugs alone will not prevent reinfections if they are not accompanied by measures addressing the unsanitary conditions which have caused the outbreak,” says Karsten Noko, Head of Mission of MSF in Bangladesh.