child receiving vaccine

On a mission to wipe out scabies worldwide

What's the child health challenge?

About 200 million people worldwide suffer from the highly infectious tropical skin disease scabies at any one time, with about 455 million new cases every year. Rates are high in many Pacific nations, parts of South America, Africa, and Australian Indigenous communities where up to half the children may have scabies.

Mites burrow under their skin to lay eggs, resulting in itching so severely that people cannot sleep and may scratch until their skin bleeds. Infected sores can be life-threatening and lead to blood poisoning, kidney failure, and heart disease.

The standard treatment of ointment may be ineffective because the routine application is often low and reinfestation from family members is common.

What's the child health challenge?

About 200 million people worldwide suffer from the highly infectious tropical skin disease scabies at any one time, with about 455 million new cases every year. Rates are high in many Pacific nations, parts of South...

What's the child health challenge?

About 200 million people worldwide suffer from the highly infectious tropical skin disease scabies at any one time, with about 455 million new cases every year. Rates are high in many Pacific nations, parts of South America, Africa, and Australian Indigenous communities where up to half the children may have scabies.

Mites burrow under their skin to lay eggs, resulting in itching so severely that people cannot sleep and may scratch until their skin bleeds. Infected sores can be life-threatening and lead to blood poisoning, kidney failure, and heart disease.

The standard treatment of ointment may be ineffective because the routine application is often low and reinfestation from family members is common.

What's the discovery or innovation?

We have shown in multiple countries that the oral medication ivermectin, when given to entire communities, can effectively eliminate scabies by reducing its prevalence by 90 percent.

We treat those with scabies and those who might incubate the disease, stopping transmission within a whole community. Community health care workers can easily administer the safe treatment, enabling it to reach more people in affected communities.

How is it changing children’s lives?

We are working with partners and governments to wipe out scabies. Our World Scabies Program is the first global program dedicated to eliminating scabies and aims to equip low and middle-income countries with tools and resources to detect, monitor, and wipe out scabies in affected communities.

A $10 million Macquarie Group grant will fund the treatment of all 1.5 million residents of Fiji and the Solomon Islands where prevalence is about 20 percent and in children about 40 percent.

These funds will make a huge difference and beyond health impacts, will have flow-on effects including reducing stigma and boosting national economies, school and work attendance as the itch and rash result in poor sleep and concentration, school avoidance, and social exclusion.

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