A growing number of students living in student housing in the Netherlands are getting scabies.
Translation by Traci White
According to the GGD (Municipal Health Services), the itch mite is on the rise. A number of students, particularly in Leiden, have been suffering from itchy, flaky, red-striped skin due to the mites. GGD Groningen says that there are some cases in Groningen, but far fewer than in other student cities like Utrecht and Leiden.
The national GGD says that the number of formally reported cases is not actually increasing, but that health care staff are getting more questions about the infestation.
The mites thrive where people live in close proximity to one another: outbreaks can easily occur at student houses, nursing homes and asylum seeker centres. The mites can get onto you if you are in prolonged physical contact with someone who has an infestation, for example by sitting on the same couch, sleeping in the same bed or through sexual activity. Student houses in particular are often unhygienic, which also attracts the mites.
The itch mites burrow into tiny tunnels they create in the skin and lay their eggs, which causes a painful itching sensation. There are ointments available to relieve the itching. Anyone who suspects they are having issues with the mites is recommended to wash their clothing and bedding at 60 degrees.