Understanding the increase in scabies cases in Flanders

Project Details


Scabies is a contagious and severely itchy skin condition caused by a microscopic mite. Scabies infestations have been increasing in Belgium over the past 10 years in the general population, in men and women of all ages, especially 15-25 years-old. In Flanders, the increase in incidence of scabies has additionally mostly been seen in large cities. It is so far unknown whether a large part of this increase is due to therapy failure or re-infections. We aim to measure the number of scabies presentations to outpatient care and estimate the extent of scabies’ therapy failure and reinfections

in Flanders as well as to improve our understanding of scabies-specific care seeking behaviors and care giving behaviors. This will in turn help us target future actions to mitigate the increase of scabies in Flanders, and contribute to reducing the spread of this disease in society. A monthly survey will be conducted over a period of six months (June 2024 – December 2024) among a network of 250 infectious disease clinics, general practitioners (GPs) and

dermatologists in 4 cities in Flanders (Antwerp, Ghent, Bruges and Leuven) to quantify the number of scabies patients seen monthly, including the number of newly and reinfected scabies patients, and to describe the socio-demographics of these patients. In addition, we will conduct in-depth interviews with scabies patients who consulted a physician, to understand better why they came, how they feel about the advice given, if others around them have been infected, or how they concluded it might be scabies. We will equally conduct in-depth interviews with care providers: GPs/dermatologists and community health workers sent by the region to support environmental disinfection in patient’s home. We will discuss with them what type of questions patients usually ask, their experiences with scabies patients, and whether they see specific population groups consulting with scabies. The results from this study will in

turn support Departement Zorg in targeting measures to reduce the burden of scabies in Flanders.

Effective start/end date1/12/2331/03/25


  • Flemish Government - Agency for Care & Health: €50,000.00


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