HOIMA, UGANDA: More than 1,000 people in sixteen villages in Hoima district are battling a fresh outbreak of scabies. The disease which manifests with severe and relentless itching has affected among others Nyakabingo, Bineneza, Kalyango, Kigawa, Bugandale, Kibugubya, Kyarubanga, and Katugo villages in Kyabigambire sub-county.
Scabies is an itchy, highly contagious skin disease that spreads through skin contact. It is caused by the infestation of a parasitic mite called Sarcoptes scabiei, which quickly spreads from person to person, especially those in crowded living conditions or with lack of access to clean water.
The mites cause a pimple-like rash that is severely itchy, and occasionally, tiny burrows may be seen in the skin. Johnson Andama, a resident of Bineneza village says that three of his children have seriously been affected by the outbreak of scabies. He has called upon health officials in the district to respond to the crisis expeditiously.
Vincent Othuba, a resident of Bugandale village says that the situation is almost getting out of hand, adding that the disease could spread to more villages if left unattended. Alex Mwesigwa, the Kyabigambire sub-county LC3 chairperson says that he has notified the district health department for possible intervention.
Roland Musiime, the health assistant in charge of Kyabigambire sub-county, says that they have embarked on a massive health sensitization awareness campaign among the locals to contain the further spread of the disease.
Dr. Lawrence Tumusiime, the Hoima District Health Officer-DHO has called on the scabies victims to maintain good personnel hygiene, adding that the health department will soon dispatch a team to start treating the affected residents.
In July 2020, more than 2,000 people were infected by a scabies outbreak in five sub-counties in Hoima district. Scabies affected Kigorobya, Buseruka, Kyabigambire, Kitoba, Buraru, and Kijongo sub-counties.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), scabies affects more than 130 million people at any time. However, children and the elderly in resource-poor communities are the most susceptible to scabies as well as to secondary complications of infestation. The highest rates occur in countries with hot, tropical climates, where the infestation is endemic, especially in communities where overcrowding and poverty coexist.