“We spent terrible nights”: Scabies has been hitting the Charente hard for several months

“Back?” She never quit”

“Is she back?” », wonders aloud Julien Lacante, boss of the Alsace-Lorraine pharmacy, in La Bussatte, Angouleme. “Actually, she never left. I have been a pharmacist for 24 years, I have seen scabies in Angouleme for 24 years…

“Back?” She never quit”

“Is she back?” », wonders aloud Julien Lacante, boss of the Alsace-Lorraine pharmacy, in La Bussette, Angouleme. “Actually, she never left. I’ve been a pharmacist for 24 years, I’ve seen scabies in Angouleme for 24 years…” In his office in Chateau Bernard, dermatologist Jean-Charles Martin “confirms the resurgence. For a decade, there has been a resurgence and all this Affects social circles. People are no longer diseased for lack of sanitation. »

“There is a bottom, with repeated peaks”, affirms Pharmacist De Mansley, Frederic Bajon. A quick look at the sales figures for drugs dispensed to cure this parasitic infection peaked in the mensley sector in February 2024 or November 2023. , pharmacist on Rue Hergé, in Angoulême.

“Basically, in Angoulême and Grand Angoulême, we have two big episodes every year,” continued Julien Lacante. He has reported an increase in cases in November. “It has always been very present. » However, because scabies is not subject to mandatory notification to the Regional Health Agency (ARS), it is impossible to know the extent of this phenomenon in statistics.

A highly contagious disease

Scabies is a skin disease that causes intense itching, “localized and aggravated in the evening and at night”, explains Charentais doctor Gilles Raymond, based in L’Isle-d’Espagnac and member of the MG 16 union.

“Patients get itching in the folds, between the fingers, in the groin, in the lower abdomen and then it becomes normal. » At root: a tiny parasite called Sarcoptus. “It’s a mite that lives in human skin and can stay there indefinitely,” explains Jean-Charles Martin. It is caught by physical contact. “And if you sleep in an infected bed, you can get contaminated. “It’s very contagious,” notes Florian Bornes. Among the factors that increase the risk of catching scabies: “promiscuity”, “exchange of residence”, “travel”, Cognac lists a dermatologist who notes peaks when returning from vacation.

Disinfection of the entire environment

Once diagnosed, people suffering from scabies are prescribed medication. “An oral treatment, Ivermectin,” says Florian Bornes. and topical treatments, benzyl benzoate (Ascabiol) or permethrin, to kill Sarcoptus. Not only that. Environmental cleanup is at least as important. To avoid any infection, the family should also be treated. “As well as linen, bedding, clothing. » In short, “everything in contact with the affected”, emphasized Julien Lecante. To get rid of parasites, it is advised to wash things at 60 degrees. Or put them in a trash bag, and spray the acaricide with the bag closed for a certain amount of time (between one and three days) for it to work.

Important clarification, this spray is not reimbursed by Social Security, unlike oral treatments and lotions applied to the body. But this environmental treatment is necessary to get rid of itching, note various experts.

Finally, dermatologist Jean-Charles Martin suggests that “resistance” to treatment is starting to appear. “That’s why you have to follow the doctor’s prescription carefully. Treatment failure is inevitably due to poor application of instructions, which should be given by a professional.

“We spent torturous nights”

“Unbearable itching” is how Mansley’s pharmacist Frédéric Bejon describes the symptoms of scabies. There is no father of this little eight-year-old boy who would say otherwise. Her son has been itching for weeks. At night, especially. “Hell, it was horrible,” his father recalls.
“We spent terrible nights. By three in the morning, he was scratching frantically and not sleeping. He couldn’t stop. » After another night of tormenting his skin, his parents rushed him to the Zirac Pediatric Emergency Room. Before that, an appointment was made with a general practitioner. Those who have not been diagnosed with scabies. He talked about stress and anxiety causing the boy to itch. The family also tried magnetizers, but nothing helped. From the hospital box to this passage. Then, everything had to be washed and disinfected at high temperatures. From sheets to clothes to curtains to car interiors. In total, the laundry room is filled with about twenty trash bags.
This example shows in any case that establishing a diagnosis is not always easy. It’s not unusual for patients suffering from scabies to be diagnosed with eczema… “At first, it’s not necessarily very obvious, the picture doesn’t look like much,” Dr. Gilles Raymond accepts. Because Sarcoptus is invisible to the naked eye. With a dermatoscope, “we can look in the itchy areas for signs of parasite passage. » “The first thing is to think about it all the time,” notes dermatologist Jean-Charles Martin.
“It’s true that it’s not easy,” adds Florian Bornes, a pharmacist on rue Hergé, in Angouleme. “There are forms of itching that are not always very telling and we can miss them. Dermatologists use it more. » The problem, in Charente, requires a medical desert, getting an appointment with this skin specialist is an obstacle course. For example, in Mansley, at his pharmacy, Frédéric Bejon notes that since 2020, he has seen only one prescription from a dermatologist for the treatment of scabies. All others were performed by general practitioners or pediatricians.

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