The Ministry of Health (MoH) says an outbreak of scabies has so far been confirmed in eight districts of Dedza, Mchinji, Ntchisi, Nkhotakota, Lilongwe, Dowa, Chiradzulu and Chitipa.
In an interview on Tuesday, MoH spokesperson Adrian Chikumbe said the ministry is currently compiling data to establish the extent of the outbreak.
He said the outbreak has come about due to poor levels of personal hygiene, inadequate access to clean water and some using stagnant waters infested with scabies-causing organisms.
Chikumbe said: “This has been exacerbated by the halting of mass drug administration campaigns against trachoma and onchocerciasis [elephantiasis] which also works against scabies.”
As part of averting the further spread of the outbreak, he said the ministry is intensifying awareness messages to the public on the importance of observing high levels of personal hygiene which should include bathing using clean water.
Chikumbe said with support from the World Health Organisation (WHO), the ministry is also providing treatment to the infected people starting with Mchinji, Dedza and Nkhotakota.
Besides, he also said the ministry is in the process of mobilising resources to reach out to all the other affected districts.
In a separate interview, Health and Rights Education Programme executive director Maziko Matemba said it is important that efforts are put into dealing with the outbreak since it was already at elimination levels in the country.
“What needs to be done is to find out the bleeding group of these scabies and eliminate them. But communities need to do their part on hygiene practices,” he said.
In recent years, the contagious itchy disease has been reported in various districts across the country which has mainly been attributed to poor hygiene levels and lack of access to clean water, among other causes.