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More people have scabies, but shyness about the condition makes it harder to stop its spread and reinfection, especially among students, experts said.

Physicians are not required to report scabies cases, and there are no exact figures to monitor the increase in scabies, but the tally earlier this year was higher than in previous years, local health boards and family doctors said.

Scabies (sarcoptes scabiei) is an eight-legged mite that burrows under the skin and lays its eggs there, causing excruciating itching. It can be transmitted through close human contact or through infected mattresses or clothing.

“Scabies infections drive people to despair,” dermatologist Annemy Gallimont told broadcaster NOS. If you miss something, you have to start over.

The problem, she said, is that people are too shy to talk about the condition. There is none.

Anyone can get scabies, and with travel resuming, more people are getting scabies, she said. But expensive hotel business people can get it too.

Students are one of the groups at higher risk for scabies, Garimont said. Because students tend to have more social contact, often live on top of each other in student residences, and don’t get all the treatment at the same time.

An RIVM spokesperson said the campaign, which specifically targets students, will launch later this year. Rumors about mutations in scabies that make it less responsive to drugs have not been confirmed, she said. For example, they don’t apply enough cream.

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