Scabies on the rise in Groningen

Red bumps, flaky skin, and a maddening itch. Does this sound familiar? Then you might have scabies. According to the GGD, the disease is spreading fast among Groningen students.
By Thereza Langeler / Translation by Sarah van Steenderen

They don’t have any exact numbers on the people infected, but the Groningen Municipal Health Service (GGD) is seeing a clear increase, especially among students.

The condition is caused by poor hygiene, infectious disease physician Jan van der Have told the NOS. ‘Students don’t wash their bed linens properly. We’d like to advise them to do this more often.’

Scabies is a skin infection caused by mites. These minuscule bugs burrow into the top layer of your skin, where they then lay eggs. The mites, their eggs, and their excrement are what cause the maddening itching, skin flakes, and red bumps.


In student housing, where people live together in close quarters and aren’t always as fastidious about doing laundry and cleaning as they could be, it’s easy for these itchy mites to migrate from one host to another. Scabies outbreaks are common.

It might sound gross, but scabies is relatively harmless and very treatable. Pharmacies will have a special cream that kills the mites. You do have to apply it to your entire body. Then deal the mites a final blow by washing your clothes and bed linens at a high temperature.

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