Scientist believes scabies lives longer than previously thought

Mobile phoneMobile phone.Photo Norway Today Media

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Stavanger University Hospital has found living scabies on mobile phones. They think it could mean it lives longer than previously thought.

The Norwegian Medicines Agency has recently received reports of outbreaks in northern Norway, eastern Norway and in Stavanger.

At Stavanger University Hospital (SUS), they are investigating cell phones of scabies patients, and so far they have found scabies on two phones, Stavanger Aftenblad writes.

“What everyone has thought so far is that scabies needs human skin contact to survive, and that they will die relatively quickly if they no longer have it. The scabies we found on the mobiles was alive. This may indicate that scabies lives longer without skin contact than previously thought,” says Thomas Ternowitz, professor and department head at the SUS house department, to the newspaper.

For the past six months, the hospital has received five or six scabies patients per week. Usually there have been one or two patients per month, Aftenbladet wrote on Monday.

It is mainly young people from 18 to 30 years who are admitted to SUS with scabies, and several return many times. Ternowitz says their theory is that patients forget to disinfect their mobiles, and possibly other utility items.

The outbreak of scabies has led to a shortage of the scabies medicine Stromectol, but medical director Steinar Madsen tells the newspaper that the drug wholesalers have now or will have the medicine back in stock.

Scabies is caused by the scabies parasite that digs shallow burrows in the skin and lays eggs there. The body reacts allergically with intense itching and red rash, especially at night, according to the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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