Microscopic mites burrow into your skin to lay their eggs. And that causes an itchy rash. In fact, you can even lie awake at night from it. So extremely annoying, but not dangerous.

Students are a particularly easy target for the mites, which raises questions. The reason for the increase in cases of scabies is not clear. We asked the GGD and answered all your questions.

How many cases are there currently?

That’s a difficult question to answer, according to the GGD. This is because a case of scabies only needs to be reported if it is found in someone working for an institution like a care home or nursery. For that reason, there are no figures about exactly how often scabies occurs.

Does the GGD get many reports from students?

That is not recorded in detail. However, students often seek advice from the GGD, so they are a favourite target. Students often live intensively together in student houses, meaning that sufferers are likely to spread it among their housemates.

How can students prevent themselves from getting scabies?

Unfortunately, there are no vaccinations or medication to prevent scabies. However, you can make sure that you don’t use someone else’s unwashed clothes or bedlinen and don’t have physical contact with anyone who has scabies.

If you have scabies, are you at risk?

Not really. Scabies is annoying but not serious. If you have scabies, you can continue going to university or your work. Try not to have lengthy physical contact with others so that you don’t infect them too. Furthermore: if you’ve been treated for scabies, you are no longer infectious 12 hours later.

How do you get rid of scabies?

Scabies is easy to treat. The treatment involves a cream or tablets. You must also keep to certain laundry instructions. The scabies mite dies if you wash clothes at 60 degrees or if you put your clothes and bedlinen in a sealed plastic bag for three days at room temperature.

The GGD also emphasises the importance of treating everyone in a student house at the same time. Otherwise you get a ping-pong effect, with everyone infecting each other. This can happen because, unfortunately, there is no immunity against scabies. That means you can get infected again.