Over 1,700 afflicted with skin disease in Liberia — Says MoH Official

Dr. Francis Kateh

Liberian Ministry of Health on Tuesday said more than 1,700 people have been plagued by skin disease suspected to be scabies.

Francis Kateh, Liberia’s Chief Medical Officer, told reporters in the capital city of Monrovia that medical experts were, however, working to ascertain the specific type of disease and its cause, but early symptoms were similar to scabies.

Mr. Kateh said “the disease, which is very contagious, has high possibility of spreading.”

The disease has spread across six of the 15 counties in the West African country.

Scabies is an itchy, highly contagious skin disease caused by an infestation by the itch mite known, scientifically, as Sarcoptes scabies.

It could be transmitted by direct skin-to-skin contact and causes severe and relentless itching.

Local medical experts said sexual contact is the most common form of transmission among sexually-active young people.

The Liberian Government is yet to declare an outbreak, despite a surge in the number of cases recorded.

Mr. Kateh said local authorities relied on the number of victims who went to clinics or other places for treatment of the disease, noting that there might be more afflicted people in rural areas.

He added that the disease could be more related to hygiene and called on Liberians to do more in keeping their environments clean to prevent it from spreading.

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