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Scabies outbreak hits Malawi

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By Rebecca Chimjeka:

An outbreak of scabies has hit different parts of the country, including Mchinji, Kasungu, Lilongwe and Zomba districts.

The skin disease is said to be spreading faster in schools because of overcrowding.

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Secretary for Health, Dan Namarika, has confirmed the outbreak.

“Hospital officials are on the ground, putting necessary measures so that the disease should not spread further. DHOs [District Health Officers] and their teams are also working on it. Central Medical Stores is mobilising drugs to meet demand,” he said.

Namarika advised Malawians that the disease can be avoided by following sanitation and hygiene practices.

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In Mchinji, the outbreak has affected 570 people in Kapiri, Mkanda, Gumba and Chimwankango, Mchinji Boma and Chiosya areas.

According to a report which The Daily Times has seen, the cases were first detected in July.

Scabies is a skin condition. It spreads through physical contact. One of the first symptoms of scabies is intense itching, which often worsens at night.

Executive Director of Malawi Health Equity Network, George Jobe, said there was need to intensify sensitisation campaigns across the country.

“We need to respond rapidly. We know, for example, that Ntcheu District has started public awareness but we need to do more. Public awareness should not target where there is the outbreak only. It should be done across the country,” Jobe said.

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