…Over 4,000 Cases Reported
By Jimmey C. Fahngon
The National Public Health Institute of Liberia (NPHIL) has identified a strange disease, which has been reported in several counties in Liberia, as scabies.
Scabies is a parasitic infection caused by a mite (sarcoptes scabia). Addressing a news conference Wednesday NPHIL Director General Tolbert G. Nyenswah said the disease was identified through a laboratory test.
Nyenswah said 42 cases of the disease were tested at the National Reference Laboratory, of which 17 cases were confirmed as scabies disease.
He said over 4,000 cases of the disease have been reported in several counties including Montserrado, River Cess, Grand Bassa, Margibi and Bong.
Nyenswah disclosed that the County Surveillance Officers in the five counties have initiated active case search with Zonal Surveillance Officers, as well as Community Health Volunteers.
He said NPHIL has begun health promotion and awareness campaign, radio talk shows, response activities and case management.
The NPHIL boss said the disease is contagious and can easily be transmitted from human to human through skin-to-skin contacts, contact of body part during sexual intercourse with affected person and contacts with affected lines, clothing and bath towels, among others.
According to him, children are mostly affected by the disease; however, he added that the disease affects any age group.
Despite the huge number of cases reported so far, Nyenswah noted that it has not reached to the threshold to be declared as an outbreak.
“Scabies can be prevented by avoiding contact with affected persons, clothing and/or linens of affected persons, over-crowdedness and improved personal hygiene,” Nyenswah said.
He named the signs and symptoms of scabies as intense itching especially at night, rashes especially around body foids including fingers, buttocks, under ampits, genital areas, among others.