The skin disease scabies is like the television show Grey's Anatomy: It's been around forever, and you may, every now and again, find yourself wondering, "Is that thing still around?" In both cases, unfortunately, the answer is a definitive "yes."
The skin disease scabies is like the television show Grey’s Anatomy: It’s been around forever, and you may, every now and again, find yourself wondering, “Is that thing still around?” In both cases, unfortunately, the answer is a definitive “yes.”
Only one of the two isn’t marching slowly toward its inexorable and merciful death: Scabies remains one of the most common skin disorders in children and affects as many as 300 million people worldwide. A recent article in BMC Infectious Diseases paints a sobering picture of current and future treatments for scabies, including a particularly distasteful reason behind the lack of clinical developments for treating scabies. The reason? The disease is mostly concentrated in poor or underdeveloped countries, international awareness of scabies, and associated prevention and treatment efforts, are just about nonexistent.
Scabies is frequently complicated by bacterial infection leading to the development of skin sores and other more serious consequences, such as septicaemia and chronic heart and kidney diseases. Few treatment options are available, but perhaps even worse, some scabies mites are developing resistance to established scabicides.
The clinical consequences of this dearth of effective treatment options are clearly spelled out in the review. Among the concerns listed by the authors:
The authors hope the review will trigger not just greater awareness of the problem, but the development of better diagnostic tools and protocols for long-term adherence to the few treatments that are available.