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Speeding up scabies elimination

Friday December 28th, 2018

Public health campaigns to eliminate scabies in poor countries could be speeded up by faster diagnosis, British experts have reported.

Clinicians can study patient hands, feet and lower legs to identify up to 90% of scabies cases, according to research from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

The researchers say that these fast assessments can be used to make decisions about public health campaigns, which, increasingly, use mass administration of drugs.

The findings, from a study in the Solomon Islands and Fiji, are reported in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Under the high-speed protocol, patients are examined further if they report itching in the groin, buttocks or breasts. Infants are examined throughout the body.

The researchers say that this gave a sensitivity of close to 90% compared with a whole-body exam. When examinations were restricted to the hands, sensitivity fell to 51.2%.

Researcher Michael Marks and his colleagues write: "Our study adds valuable data to the development of a simplified diagnostic process for scabies that may be applied to guide decisions about future public health interventions.”

Exploration of a simplified clinical examination for scabies to support public health decision-making. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases 27 December 2018; doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0006996

http://journals.plos.org/plosntds/article?id=10.1371/journal.pntd.0006996

Tags: Australia | UK News | World Health

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