Kaia Kahurangi Jamieson, head of welfare and equity for the University of Otago Students Association, said cases of skin disease caused by parasitic mites spiked last August and appear to be on the rise again.
“As an anecdote, scabies seems to be very prominent in the student community, which, combined with the unavailability of scabies cream, has been completely put down as I hear that ivermectin is currently very difficult to obtain. .”
Infamous during the Covid-19 pandemic, ivermectin required a prescription, and subsidized treatments were only available if people could prove that topical treatments didn’t work.
Kahurangi-Jamieson said it appears to be the result of problems with people trying to treat Covid-19 with antiparasitic drugs.
“One of the difficulties is that students have to go to the doctor many times … once they got the cream and after multiple treatments that were ineffective, they went back I have to go to another doctor and that’s a big problem.It’s a financial barrier for many students.”
But that was if they could find a topical treatment in the first place.
“I went to several chemists, but couldn’t find it anywhere, so I heard someone ask if there was a spare scabies cream in the apartment.
Kahurangi-Jamieson said many students live in apartments of four or more people and, especially given the lack of topical treatments, trying to get everyone to do their laundry at once to keep the infection at bay. was difficult.
“It’s a highly treatable condition and fortunately doesn’t pose a great threat other than being really very inconvenient and contagious. These contagion problems are so close to the flats that , is particularly emphasized in the student population.
“I find it hard to do my best academically and socially when I’m feeling itchy all the time.”
Since scabies is not a notifiable disease, the exact number of cases is unknown.
Dr. Sarah Metcalf, clinical director of the Canterbury Infection Management Service, said there has been an increase in referrals and referrals to general practitioners and private dermatologists for scabies management in the past six months to a year. but there was no indication that it was contagious.
Cases were found throughout Canterbury, the West Coast, and other centers, with a higher prevalence in the student population.
Metcalf said the scabies epidemic can be difficult to diagnose because it is often exacerbated by crowded living environments and many people are unaware that they have the disease.
Oral ivermectin was available under special privileges only if the patient met certain criteria and its use was approved by a microbiologist, dermatologist, or infectious disease specialist. becomes.
Christchurch GP Dr Angus Chambers said he usually sees one or two cases a month and probably fewer, but he was seeing a few cases last week.
“We run both GP and paramedics, so if you can’t get to GP, they’ll stop by. We’re so close to the university, it seems that the outbreak also has a student cohort involved.”
Infected people suffer from an itchy rash, and any close contact with an infected person should be treated, Dr. Chambers said.
“The usual treatment is a kind of insecticidal cream, but the problem is that it is currently in very short supply and difficult to obtain.”
A Google search confirmed that subsidized topical permethrin treatments were sold out on most New Zealand pharmacy websites.
“It can bend the scabies itch a little bit. It’s a very itchy rash and of course it can get secondary infections and sometimes bacteria start to grow which can pose some dangers.” there is.”
According to Pharmac, stocks of 5% permethrin lotion are very low and additional stock will be flown in the next week or two.
https://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/campus/student-scabies-tricky-getting-treatment-says-ousa-rep Scabies in students: hard to get treatment, says OUSA official