The Blantyre District Health Office (DHO) says reported cases of scabies are on the rise in the city and has since urged people to adhere to personal hygiene to avoid further potential spread.
A statement signed by Blantyre District director of health and social services Dr Gift Kawalazira yesterday said from June to September this year, the district has registered 255 cases in nine health facilities, including mobile clinics and Chichiri Prison.
In the statement, he said health facilities where the cases have been reported include South Lunzu, Kadidi, Makata, Zingwangwa, Lighthouse, Dziwe, Mpemba, Gateway and Chimembe.
Reads the statement in part: “The health office is also alert and conducting active surveillance in addition to sensitising communities on adherence to preventive measures in order to control the spread of the outbreak in the district.
“These preventive measures include adhering to personal hygiene practices such as taking a bath everyday, avoiding sharing of clothes, beddings, linen, towels and avoid congested places as the disease spreads through contact.”
The statement has since urged institutions such as schools, churches and mosques, among others, to be on high alert on monitoring of the signs and symptoms and report any suspected cases to health facilities.
Scabies is associated with poor hygiene with the common signs and symptoms being severe itching that causes scratch marks, lesions between fingers, on the hands, feet, flexor sides of wrists and armpits.
In children, the mostly affected parts are the palms, sores neck and the head.
Last month, Ministry of Health spokesperson Adrian Chikumbe told The Nation in an interview that eight districts have been affected by the itchy disease that include Dedza, Mchinji, Ntchisi, Nkhotakota, Lilongwe, Dowa, Chiradzulu and Chitipa. But Chikumbe said as part of averting further spread, the ministry is intensifying awareness messages to the public on the importance of observing high levels of personal hygiene.