Scabies Increasing Among Teenagers

Scabies is on the rise here in Sweden, especially among teenagers. Normally restricted to homes for the elderly, new outbreaks have been seen among young people and children.

Skin doctor Lill-Marie Persson says that changes in social habits may lay behind the increase.

“Young people sit close to one another in the sofa and watch TV or play video games,” she told newspaper Svenska Dagbladet.

Scabies is surrounded by taboo, and is often misdiagnosed as eczema. As a result, it’s difficult to precisely chart its spread through the population, but sales of the most common medicine against the illness have definitely increased the past few years.

The scabies mite is a spider that digs centimeter-long pathways in the skin where it lays its eggs. It causes intense itching and scabbed skin, an allergic reaction to both the mite and its feces.

It is treated by an ointment that is applied over the entire body, even under the fingernails.