Last week youngsters suffered from scabies three times more often than other age groups, according to research institute Nivel. This infectious but harmless condition is caused by mites that burrow and lay eggs in the skin. That causes relentless itching.

According to the RIVM students easily fall prey to scabies because of their “poor hygiene conditions in combination with high-risk behaviour”. Many of them do not change their bed linen for weeks on end, live in close proximity to one another in student housing and have more frequent physical contact. This makes it easy for mites to spread.

Continued rise

It seems that getting rid of the itchy parasites will not be an easy matter. In 2016, there were an average of 1.8 reports per week of scabies among the Dutch population, but that figure has now almost doubled. The number of reports has risen particularly quickly in the past year.

Nivel researcher Mariëtte Hooiveld has no explanation for this. It is, however, clear that the skin condition occurs less frequently in summer. “Most of the reports are received in autumn and winter.”


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